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COVID-19 Vaccination Update for February 3, 2021

Posted by
Tatiana Johnson
on
February 3, 2021

Neighbors – thank you for staying engaged and committed to receiving your vaccines as soon as possible. On Friday and Monday, I participated in oversight roundtables to review the DC Health’s roll-out of the vaccine program. Due to the constructive feedback that I received from many of you, I was able to follow up with DC Health and request updates in the system. I listened to the concerns of many Ward 2 residents who testified on Friday, and I will continue to work with DC Health to improve the sign-up program. Last week, I was also heartened to hear that a third COVID-19 vaccine may become available soon, and to date, the District has vaccinated over 35,000 District residents. Together as a community, we will continue to fight this pandemic.

I want to provide an update from what we know this week, including:

  • Who is Eligible for an Appointment
  • How to Obtain an Appointment
  • Updates to the Portal and Coronavirus Call Center
  • Vaccination Sites
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Vaccine Availability from the Federal Government  

Yours in Service,

Brooke

Who is Eligible for an Appointment?

The following populations are now receiving the vaccine in Washington, DC:

  • Individuals who work in health care settings;
  • Members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department;
  • Residents of long-term and intermediate care facilities and residents of community residential facilities/group homes;
  • DC residents who are 65 years old and older;
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness;
  • Members of the Metropolitan Police Department;
  • Personnel responsible for Continuity of District Government; and,
  • Teachers and staff who are, or will be, working in person at a traditional or public charter school.
  • Licensed Child Care Providers and Teachers and Staff of Independent Schools in DC
  • Department of Corrections Employees

This week, DC Health will also begin on-site vaccinations at two DC Housing Authority senior properties in Ward 2 as part of the senior vaccination initiative. Residents of Claridge Towers & Horizon House should contact their property management office to register to receive the vaccine on Saturday, February 6th.

The following link has the different Phases and Tiers for vaccination: https://tinyurl.com/y4q4vsx7. Currently we are in Phase 1B, Tier 2.

How to Obtain an Appointment

Appointments will be made available every Thursday morning at 9 a.m. for high priority zip codes. Every Friday morning at 9 a.m. appointments are available for ALL residents in the aforementioned eligible categories. You can obtain an appointment at https://vaccinate.dc.gov or by calling the District’s hotline at 855-363-0333.

According to the Executive Office of the Mayor, “priority zip codes include areas of the city where residents are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including number of cases and mortality rate. This week, Wards 5, 7, and 8 were prioritized because they have the lowest percentages of residents who are 65 and older who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.”

At this time, priority zip codes are focused in Wards 5, 7, and 8 and include: 20422, 20011, 20017, 20018, 20002, 20001, 20019, 20020, 20020, 20032, 20593.

Appointments are available through DC Health and we encourage you to sign-up for alerts regarding appointment availability at https://vaccinate.dc.gov.

Appointments may also be obtained directly through the following facilities. Please visit these websites to learn more whether the facility is only accepting former patients or new patients.  

Updates to the Vaccinate.dc.gov Portal and Coronavirus Call Center

Thank you very much for writing in to make suggestions to the web portal systems. I have relayed these suggestions in a joint letter with my colleagues, and the Department of Health has adopted some of these recommendations. Please continue to share your concerns with our office so that we can relay these and encourage changes. Improvements made to https://vaccinate.dc.gov include:

  • Removal of CAPTCHA during the booking process: the only remaining CAPTCHA (with enhanced performance) is during the initial screening and is required to secure the site
  • Increased site resources: the site was moved to better infrastructure to support the numbers of users clicking on the site at one time and to increase the speed of confirmation email delivery
  • Removal of the “change booking” capability: this functionality was removed since new appointments could not be guaranteed, and the user did not know if other appointments were available until having already canceled their appointment
  • Enhanced vaccination site management: the website will automatically hide vaccination sites where all appointments are booked; previously, this was manually performed and would lead to the public seeing sites without available appointments
  • Streamlined process: the removal of questions regarding insurance information will further streamline the process of booking an appointment
  • Site navigation improvements: updated help text and easier to understand buttons will make the website easier to navigate
  • Additional confirmation options: users will now have the option to print a confirmation page in lieu of showing an email
  • The confirmation page will remind users of the address of the vaccination site

Vaccination Sites

Additional locations will be opened as the District receives additional vaccines and additional vaccines are approved for use. DC Health is optimistic that more vaccines to prevent COVID-19 will be approved for use by the FDA this spring. These vaccines are not expected to have the same storage. For example, last week Johnson & Johnson announced the effectiveness of its one dose vaccine.

Transportation Sites

The District’s Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) cover all transportation (free of charge), to and from, all medically necessary covered services and appointments. To request transportation, the Enrollee should call the following number to schedule the service:

AmeriHealth | Call 1-800-315-3485

CareFirst | Call 1-855-824-5693.

Health Services for Children with Special Needs | Call 1-866-991-5433

MedStar | Call 1-866-201-9974

Vaccine Availability from the Federal Government

The foundational issue around vaccinations in DC is that we do not have enough vaccine to accommodate all essential workers and vulnerable populations that are now eligible to receive the vaccine. In the case of educators and others, they will soon be eligible. In fact, because DC is still home to so many essential workers who do not reside in DC, our challenge is more acute than our surrounding jurisdictions.

Until the supply increases, the Health Department will be unable to provide a vaccine to everyone who wants it or needs it. The District is dependent on allotments of the vaccine that the federal government provides each week, and as soon as doses are sent to us, appointments are made available.


Last week, the Biden Administration committed to increasing the District’s vaccine allocation by 15% for three weeks. This commitment will accelerate the distribution and availability of vaccines and brings hope to all of us during this uncertain time.  

To receive updates from DC Health regarding appointment availability visit https://vaccinate.dc.gov and sign up for alerts. Please also sign up for our newsletter at www.brookepintodc.com.


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