ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — With 99 percent of its so-called super seniors, ages 75 and older, fully vaccinated, Howard County is now taking a youthful turn with its vaccination effort.
“I was like, ‘I need to get the shot to make sure my family is protected, I’m protected and everyone I come into contact with is protected so I needed to do this today,” said Kameron Whiteford, a student at Marriotts Ridge High School.
Variants now pose a risk of spreading the virus among a younger population, and County Executive Calvin Ball secured a public/private partnership with Safeway to administer more than a thousand shots at the Meadowbrook Athletic Complex in Ellicott City.
“In Howard County, five percent of residents age 19 and under have been vaccinated, and today, together, we’re here to increase that,” said Ball.
With shots focused on public and private schools, as well as the community college and trade school students, the county hopes to move forward in its efforts to get back to some sense of normalcy.
“Prioritizing our students with access to vaccinations is another positive step towards the return of normalized, five-day, in-person learning, which will occur in the fall,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano.
At an age when many people may feel somewhat invincible, some students receiving the shots did so with the idea that this just wasn’t about protecting themselves.
“There are people who are working everyday to help us and our health like doctors, nurses, teachers… and I just feel like we shouldn’t be able to risk them for doing their everyday jobs,” said Mia Silen, a Howard High School student. “So not only is helping us to be able to go out in public more, but also people who are just doing their everyday jobs.”
Of its residents between the ages of 18 and 24, Howard County has delivered at least one dose of the vaccines to half of them already.