DC Health announced that beginning the week of Jan. 25, in-person staff, including teachers and support staff, at DC Public Schools (DCPS) and DC Public Charter Schools will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Other public school staff, members of the Metropolitan Police Department and “Continuity of District Government” personnel will start their vaccinations next week with Kaiser.
DCPS teachers and staff who are already reporting in-person or who will return for in-person instruction when Term 3 begins on Feb. 1 will receive an email outlining the process for scheduling a vaccination appointment.
Vaccinations will begin Jan. 25 week at Dunbar High School. DC Health and DCPS are partnering with Children’s National Hospital to vaccinate DCPS staff. Appointments will be scheduled directly with Children’s National Hospital.
DC Public Charter Schools will receive guidance from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).
The 6,500 vaccination appoints made available Jan. 11 filled within three hours. 1,436 vaccination appointments that opened at 9 a.m. Monday were allocated in 25 minutes.
At her Jan. 19 news conference, Bowser noted that DC Health had allocated a specific number of appointments for the wards that had so far been underrepresented in vaccine appointments but over-impacted by COVID-19. Those appointments were released Saturday.
“Let’s be real clear; we’re talking about the release of 4,000 [or] 6,000 –up to 8,000 appointments where our need is much greater,” Bowser said Tuesday. “So, as long as we are working in this very intense period of scarcity over the vaccine, we know that people who need and want the vaccine won’t be able to get it. So almost every system is imperfect, until we have enough vaccine.”
Asked why the DC Government did not create a central registry, Bowser said that until the District has enough vaccine, there will still have to be a way to choose who will receive the vaccination first.
After the conference, Chief of Staff John J. Falcicchio elaborated on the concerns about a registry, given the limited supply of vaccines. “What we don’t want to do is set the expectation that people are on a list, and that they are about to get it,” he said.
Falcicchio said that an advantage of the District system of registration was also that residents could select the most convenient location for their appointment.
Bowser said the District continues to advocate for the federal government to send more vaccine. Her Chief of Staff said that the District had told federal partners, including the incoming administration, “if you get us the vaccine, we’ll get it out.”
District seniors (65 years and older) and healthcare workers can continue to register for vaccination appointments using the vaccinate.dc.gov portal or by calling the District’s coronavirus call center at 855-363-0333.
Going forward, appointments will be released every Thursday at 9:00 a.m. to eligible residents in priority zip codes, and additional appointments will be released every Friday at 9:00 a.m. for all DC zip codes.
If DC’s weekly vaccine allotment from the federal government changes, this schedule is likely to change in accordance. The District’s goal is the make the vaccine available promptly as supply comes in from the federal government and to ensure an equitable distribution of the vaccine across all eight wards.
Earlier this month, DC Health shared the District’s updated vaccination program phases, broken down by tiers. The phases and tiers consider populations based on two factors: 1) prevention of morbidity and mortality and 2) preservation of societal functions.
The first populations in those groups to begin receiving the vaccine to were individuals in nursing homes then followed by District residents 65 years and older as well as health care workers, EMS workers, and frontline public health workers. Teachers are expected to begin receiving the vaccine on Jan. 25, with in-person staff and instructors receiving priority.
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and District planning by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccine