Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced that a second vaccination clinic will open at the Athletics and Fitness Center at Howard Community College (HCC) on Jan 25.  The new clinic will be able to administer approximately 1,500 additional doses of vaccine each day, depending on vaccine supply from the state.

Ball also noted that Howard County began vaccinating adults aged 75 and older in Phase 1B on Jan. 19.

To date, Howard Count Health Department has administered 92.6 percent of the vaccine doses it has received since they became available on Dec. 23.

“We’re working around the clock to rapidly scale up vaccination clinics and vaccinate up to 20,000 people per week,” Ball said.

Since the pandemic began, COVID-19 has affected more than 13,400 county residents, resulting in more than 200 deaths.

The county’s efforts to administer the vaccine have been hampered by a slow rollout from the Federal government and limited availability.

“Howard County requested 14,600 doses [in its initial requisition] and received 52 percent of that request,” Ball said. “As of [Jan. 18], more than 7,000 doses of the 7,600 doses received have been administered in Phase 1A, and as of today we have gone through 100 percent of that allocation.”

Phase 1C vaccinations are expected to begin in February and will include residents ages 65-74, public safety and health workers, essential workers in grocery stores, food production, laboratories, manufacturing, public transit and the postal service.

Expanding Effort

According to Kate Hetherington, HCC president, the college’s Health Sciences Division will help the county’s Health Department with vaccine distribution.

“We anticipate that our students will be involved in the entire process, from intake to vaccination to outprocessing of patients,” she said. “Several nursing faculty have volunteered as well.”

Nearly every fall graduate of our nurse education program graduated early and entered the workforce a full 3 weeks earlier than anticipated, and an early graduation is planned for spring semester, plus our radiologic technology program is planning to graduate students as early as April.

Additionally, the Department of Fire and Rescue Services’ Mobile Integrated Community Health team will be pivoting to assist the Health Department with vaccination clinics, providing the ability to move around to locations and visit groups or individuals who are not ambulatory to aid in vaccinating those at a higher level of risk.

“Our school nurses and health assistants will be receiving training this week on how to administer the vaccine and will be supporting the process to vaccinate our staff and community,” added Michael Martirano, superintendent of the Howard County Public School System.

“We all are eager to get back to being able to gather in business, friendship and community, said Jacqueline Scott, director of the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services. “This expanded plan for vaccinations is a big step in that direction.”