Starting February 26, and most Fridays afterwards, CCBC-Essex will be distributing vaccinations to those who are eligible.
Vaccinations will be done on campus at the Wellness & Athletics Center. Those wishing to be vaccinated must complete a form to determine eligibility through the Baltimore County COVID-19 Vaccine Hub. CCBC does not schedule vaccines, and only provides the space for vaccinations.
“We started with some meetings when the idea first came up, and our president, Dr. Kurtinitis has been a strong advocate for serving the community by providing our space so that this important function can happen here,” Marc Ershler, the CCBC Essex Campus Director said. “February 26th was the first day that it operated. They administered 1,422 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in about 5 hours."
As of March 12th, Maryland is still on phase 1C. Adults aged 16-64 years and essential workers in food and transportation still must wait to receive the vaccine. Those who are interested in determining when they are eligible to become vaccinated can complete the registration form found on the Baltimore County COVID-19 Vaccine Hub underneath the “Request Registration” tab.
Ever since the first vaccines were approved by the FDA in late 2020, the focus across the country was directed towards administering the vaccine to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Maryland soon released their vaccine plans, focusing on prioritizing an emphasis on administering it early to first responders and those who are considered to have a higher risk of serious illness if catching the virus.
Several months after the first vaccines were administered, there still were not enough to go around. As late as February, Governor Larry Hogan was still adamant that the number of vaccines administered was far too little.
“The basic problem is pretty simple,” Governor Hogan noted in an address, “We need more [expletive] vaccines.”
More recently, Maryland has eclipsed 1 million first doses, as new cases continue to drop. The recent addition of Johnson & Johnson as a third approved vaccine also helps calm the vaccine rush. Still, there has been a continuous struggle for thousands as they try to meet the standards, and their attempts to get vaccinated have been continuous.
“I’ve been trying to get vaccinated at other places,” Mary Lou Marks, receptionist at CCBC-Essex said. “I should be able to get vaccinated because of my age, but I’ve tried numerous places, and every time they tell me to sign up, they tell me they are out of vaccines, or ‘call back again,’ or ‘we will call you back again.’ … I have made several attempts to get the vaccine, and I can’t get it. Even though I put in my age, as soon as I put in that I have no underlying conditions, it drops me out.”
This soon might change, however. In a recent address to the public, President Joe Biden announced a plan that would likely make all adults eligible for vaccination by May 1st.
There has also been debate over how safe the vaccines are. Its quick approval has led some to distrust the long-term safety of it, in addition to fear over side effects and distrust of the government. Those who do wish to get the vaccine, however, can hope that this could be the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
“I believe herd immunity as a result of widespread vaccination is the safest and quickest way for society to resume in any normal fashion,” said Angela Wesneski, a vaccinated high school teacher. “So, I hope that as many people as possible are vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
She continued, “I have had conversations with students who have experienced a lot of vaccine hesitancy, especially when I disclosed that I got the vaccine. I think something to recognize is that many people distrust the medical system for various valid reasons. Whether those reasons are prior negative personal experiences, a lack of knowledge due to a lack of access to consistent medical care, or historical evidence of medical malpractice in marginalized communities, people have a right to be nervous or scared. All I can do as a fellow citizen is share my experience, which was a very positive one.”
Only around half of the population surveyed by the CDC said they planned on getting the COVID-19 vaccine, however the number is rising.
Because of the growth in vaccinated Americans, states have started to ease up on restrictions, including some states controversially announcing that masks are no longer required. In Maryland, however, the mask mandate is still in full effect, however the state has eased restrictions in the form of capacity limits at most venues.
According to the Baltimore Sun Governor Larry Hogan announced that in the coming weeks he plans to open vaccine eligibility to all adults in the state.
I think it’s exciting to see how CCBC is able to lend out its spaces to assist in the pandemic. Before COVID, the Wellness & Athletics center was a building I’d enter somewhat frequently. It looks so different in its current state! Now that vaccines are available to those ages 16 and up, I plan to get vaccinated soon. Herd immunity is very important to stopping the pandemic. I’m not sure where I’ll be vaccinated, but now I know there’s a chance it could be at my school.