ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) -- Howard County Officials joined Friday to share the county's planning progress for COVID-19 vaccine boosters and third doses.
Those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are eligible for a third shot at this time. You can find a clinic in the county by visiting their vaccine portal.
The county has the highest vaccination rate in Maryland, but breakthrough infections are increasing amid the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
"More than 83% of eligible Howard County residents are fully vaccinated, the most of any jurisdiction," said Ball. "But until all our residents are informed and empowered to get vaccinated, our work continues. As the virus has evolved, and more studies are completed on the efficacy of vaccines – we know there are many questions from our community about what's next."
Ball said the infrastructure is in place to begin administering booster shots in the county, but booster shots are pending FDA approval, which is expected to come some time in the fall.
"We know that for many of our older adults and seniors, who were some of the first to receive their vaccines, are feeling anxious," said Ball. "We anticipate that booster shots will begin to be available by the end of September or early October, but we are waiting for the final approval from the FDA. Howard County has led the state on our vaccination efforts throughout this year, and we have the infrastructure in place to handle third doses for immunocompromised residents and booster shots for the general population throughout this fall and winter."
The CDC is currently recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. The county said this includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
The county said residents should talk with a healthcare provider to find out if a third dose is right for them.