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COVID mass vaccination site to open Friday at Columbia mall

Howard County’s first COVID-19 mass vaccination site will open Friday at The Mall in Columbia.

The state-run site is using the former Lord & Taylor space at the mall to administer vaccinations by appointment only. It will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

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“The site was chosen for several reasons, including being less susceptible to weather conditions, a good use of an unoccupied space in the mall, requiring fewer staff to operate and preserving parking for mall patrons,” said Charles Gischlar, deputy director of the Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Communications. “The Mall in Columbia will be able to administer up to 3,000 doses per day and will offer 1,000 shots per day initially.”

On March 23, Gov. Larry Hogan announced he was doubling the number of mass vaccination sites in Maryland, including the first mass vaccination site in Howard County.

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All Maryland residents ages 16 or older will be eligible for vaccination at the new site.

Nearly 2.6 million Marylanders, or about 42% of the state’s population, have received at least their first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna two-dose vaccines. In addition, nearly 1.9 million Marylanders have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or about 31% of the state’s population.

Last week, Howard County became the second jurisdiction in the state — and first in the Central Maryland region — to have 50% of its entire population at least partially vaccinated. As of Tuesday, Howard County ranks first in the state with 54.5% of its population having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot and 37.3% being fully vaccinated.

In a public letter Monday, Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman said many of the state-run sites offer the Pfizer vaccine, the only vaccine authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds.

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“Parents of teens are encouraged to seek out sites that offer this vaccine,” Rossman wrote.

While walk-up appointments are not currently accepted, they may in the future, County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement Tuesday.

People can call 1-855-MD-GOVAX or visit the state’s GoVAX website at onestop.md.gov/govax for more information on registering for appointments at mass vaccination sites.

The other mass vaccination sites in Maryland are: Six Flags America in Bowie, Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, Hagerstown Premium Outlets, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Greenbelt Washington Metro Station, Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Montgomery College in Germantown, Frederick Community College, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis and Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

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