Howard County, Maryland, has begun the process of vaccinating residents against COVID-19 in the Phase 1b group, along with those in Phase 1a, County Executive Calvin Ball announced Thursday.
The county opened a second vaccine clinic at Howard Community College earlier this week, and this facility will work on getting people in groups 1a and 1b vaccinated. Depending on supply, the county estimates the new clinic will be able to vaccinate around 20,000 people a week.
Around 55,000 Howard County residents fall under groups 1a and 1b, and the county has received around 15,000 doses since vaccination efforts first began last month.
“This is an all hands-on-deck operation for this government; we will use every resource at our disposal so that when we get the supply, we immediately get shots in arms,” Ball said in a statement. “We know that many of you are frustrated. I share your frustration. While we are hopeful that production will increase over the next few months, we are still in a position where demand will continue to exceed supply for the foreseeable future.”
Howard County is requesting an additional supply of 20,000 vaccines this week in order to meet the demand shown by the level of preregistration.
The county has also partnered with Howard County Public Schools to create additional vaccine operation sites at certain high schools.
Gov. Larry Hogan has said school systems across the state must make a good-faith effort to return to some level of in-person instruction by March. Howard County recently approved a phased hybrid approach for returning students to classrooms under that timeline.
In order to better protect students and school staff, the county dedicated $300,000 in federal CARES Act funds to install air filters in schools designed to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
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