COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — People lined up around the Howard County Health Department in Columbia to get the coronavirus vaccine Thursday, an encouraging sign on the day Maryland officially surpassed 6,000 deaths.

“At this time, our remaining clinics for the week are completely booked with health care providers,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County’s Health Officer.

She said the county expected to use all of its current allotment of 4,500 vaccinations by early next week.

More than 2,500 health care workers and first responders have gotten the shots in Howard County so far.

County Executive Calvin Ball said current metrics still “put us in a dangerous area of widespread community transmission.”

Ellen Loreck was among those getting the vaccine Thursday.


“I’ve been waiting months to get it,” she told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “You read so many horrible stories about terrible things that happen to so many people, and it’s just very exciting to know that you’re offered some sort of protection.”

Sheila Ward works in diagnostic imaging. She spoke to Hellgren during the 15 minute period every person getting vaccinated must wait—under observation—to make sure they don’t have side effects.

“I feel physically fine. I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to get it,” Ward said.

Teachers are part of the next group to get vaccinated. That group is estimated to be between 30,000 and 40,000 people in Howard County. The vaccinations are expected to start later in January and be completed by March.

“A vaccination effort of this scope, reach and speed is historic,” County Executive Ball said.

Only 1.9% of people in the Baltimore region have been vaccinated. Statewide, 98,536 people have gotten their first shot in the past 24 hours.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.