I know residents are eager to make an appointment to receive a vaccine. Many of you received an update from DC Health regarding the availability of vaccination appointments on Friday. Additional appointments were made available on Saturday for seniors in Wards 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8. I understand the frustration that Ward 2 residents were not included for these additional appointments. DC Health did not initially provide an explanation and I have relayed these concerns about communications going forward.
DC Health explained in a separate press release that appointments were reserved for seniors in Wards 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 because those communities have the highest rates of COVID-19 positive cases and received the lowest number of vaccination appointments this past week. I know that together as a community we will continue to fight this pandemic. Our city is dependent on allotments of the vaccine that the federal government provides to us each week and as soon as doses are sent to us, appointments are made available.
On Monday, January 18, at 9:00 a.m., an additional 1,436 appointments will become available to any DC resident who is 65 and older or any individual who works in a health care setting in DC. To schedule an appointment, please visit https://vaccinate.dc.gov or call the District’s call center at 855-363-0333.
I am aware that there were technical difficulties for residents trying to make appointments on Saturday. DC Health is committed to resolving these difficulties and I will be closely monitoring on Monday when appointments are made available again.
I have worked and will continue to work with DC Health to ensure there is broad availability of the vaccine.
One of the challenges DC faces with availability of vaccination appointments is distribution of the vaccine from the federal government each week. President-elect Joe Biden recently announced his plan for 100 million vaccines within his first 100 days in office. This commitment will accelerate distribution and availability of vaccines and brings hope to all of us during this uncertain time. In the meantime, please continue to do your part to reduce the spread: stay home when possible, wear a mask, and engage in social distancing.
Below is the press release from DC Health that provides more information.
Yours in Service,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 15, 2021
DC Health to Make Additional Vaccination Appointments Available to Residents of Wards 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 on Saturday, January 16
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, DC Health announced that at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 16, 4,309 vaccination appointments will become available to residents of Wards 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 who are aged 65 and older and/or work in a health care setting. When appointments open, only residents who live in these wards will be able to make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine through the vaccinate.dc.gov portal or by calling the District’s coronavirus call center (1-855-363-0333).
On Monday, January 18, at 9:00 a.m., an additional 1,436 appointments will become available to any DC resident who is 65 and older or any individual who works in a health care setting in DC.
To ensure an equitable distribution of the vaccine, on Saturday, January 16, appointments are only being made available to residents in the five wards that had the fewest number of residents make appointments on Monday, January 11 (shown in the figure below).
While appointments are available, residents can schedule a vaccination through the call center Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Additionally, residents can get connected to the call center by dialing 311. Demand for the vaccine is high, and longer than usual waits are anticipated through the Call Center.
Seniors who schedule an appointment through the portal or hotline will receive a confirmation code that should be brought to their appointment along with verification of eligibility (e.g. a photo ID). The call center will have translation services available for residents who do not speak English.
When going to get the vaccine, it is recommended that individuals wear a loose-fitting shirt that allows medical staff to get to their upper arm. At the first appointment, individuals will receive a vaccination card or printout that says which COVID-19 vaccine they received, the date they received it, where they received it, and when they should return to that same location for their second shot. After receiving the vaccine, individuals should be prepared to stay for 15 to 30 minutes after for observation.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free. When receiving the vaccine, residents will be asked to provide their health insurance information, but no one will be charged a co-pay. Those who do not have health insurance will still receive the vaccine at no cost.
Any individual who previously tried to get an appointment but did not receive a confirmation code will need to re-register. Those who submit their email address or mobile phone number through vaccinate.dc.gov will receive an email or text message when the registry opens to additional populations.
Total Positive Case Count in the District of Columbia by Ward