Staff, Families, Participants, and Partners:
I wanted to take a minute to hopefully provide you with the latest information regarding the COVID vaccine. Governor Hogan’s Maryland COVID vaccine roll out can be found at:
 
The vaccine is being made available in priority groups. For the Harford Center, here is the breakdown:
1A is currently eligible to get the vaccine. This includes: all licensed health professionals (Harford Center Certified Med. Techs, Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Nurses, etc.). At present, we have a clinic for our eligible 1A group this Thursday. Staff have the choice to get their shot at this time, wait for further consideration, or to opt not to get their shot.
1B is eligible as of January 18 (this Monday). This includes anyone over 75+ and adults with developmental disabilities. Those 75 year of age and up are the first priority of 1B. Here is the link for all Harford County citizens over 75+ to indicate their interest in getting the vaccine. https://harfordcountyhealth.com/ (go half way down the page and click the link for the form for 75+). Also, this group includes all adults with developmental disabilities living in congregate care and those that live with their families. This is what we know:
  • If your loved one lives with another provider (like MidAtlatic or Richcroft), those agencies will be reaching out to guardians to secure consent. The residential providers will be scheduling and providing a mechanism for your loved one to get vaccinated. Also, if you are not your loved one’s guardian, he/she will have the ability to self-consent or decline the vaccine. I encourage all of you to reach out to your loved one’s team to make sure that these conversations are occurring.
  • For loved ones who attend the Harford Center and do NOT live with a DDA residential provider, your loved one is in group 1B. At this time, it is unclear how he/she registers to get the vaccine. Here is a link to see where vaccine clinics are near you. https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine I have reached out to the Health Department for guidance and to request that the Harford Center have the ability to coordinate the vaccines for participants living with their parents. This does not mean that we have to bring them to get their shots; it’s simply a way to ensure that everyone is included. Also, we can not consent for your loved one to get the vaccine. As I stated above, if you have guardianship, you will have to consent on behalf of your loved one. If you don’t have guardianship, I encourage you to help your loved one make an informed decision in conjunction with his/her team and primary care physician.  Once determined eligible, vaccines are by appointment only. Families will be setting up an appointment for their loved ones, signing the consents, and will receive a link. In some cases, the Harford Center may be able to help facilitate this process. 
  • We will not be mandating that individuals get the vaccine to return to care. However, this could change if the local, State (DDA), or Federal jurisdiction mandates the vaccine in the future. However, we will continue to comply with all CDC recommendations for masking, social distancing, and hygiene.
We are strongly encouraging every staff person and participant to get the vaccine if they are eligible and it is medically advised. The Harford Center will not be giving medical advice or advising individuals on their medical histories regarding the vaccine.
 
Group 1C will be eligible as of January 28th. Group 1C consists of the remainder of our DSP’s. If a CMT from group 1A elects not to get the vaccine now, he/she can get the vaccine at any point
 
I understand that this is a lot of information. I encourage all of you to speak with your doctors, family members, etc. This is a personal decision. However, in order to be transparent and to show my faith in the science of the vaccine, I will be getting my first dose next week. 
 
If you elect to get your vaccine (staff and individuals), please remember to send documentation to the Harford Center, so that we have it on file. With the vaccine being rolled out, I anticipate that the Harford Center will be back to its fun, busy, and productive self in the not too distant future. 
 
Please feel free to reach out to me directly at snolte@harfordcenter.org for information about the vaccine availability or to Dave Black at dblack@harfordcenter.org to discuss your loved one’s return or interest in getting the vaccine.
 
I thank you all for your continued support of the Harford Center. 
 
Please remember we are closed this Monday, January 18th in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Stay safe and stay in touch.
Sherry