The District will soon introduce new changes to its procedure for registering to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in an effort to distribute the shots more equitably.
The changes are scheduled to take effect in March.
Speaking at a press conference last Thursday, DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt explained that small groups of residents who are eligible for vaccination will be notified every week when appointments become available.
Priority zip codes and DC’s vaccination phases will be key factors to determine the eligible groups that will be notified. The new system will not be a waitlist, according to Nesbitt.
Residents need to first register for receiving the coronavirus shot via DC’s vaccine registration portal in order to get a notification from city officials. Then they will be able to schedule an appointment.
DC Health aims at improving residents’ experience on the District’s online vaccine portal and its call center (855-363-0333), the health director stated.
“We continue to make incremental improvements to that system, including today, where we were able to make an enhancement that allowed for a set aside of appointments that would be accessible only through the call center, compared to appointments that would be accessible via the online portal,” Nesbitt said.
DC’s vaccine appointments currently open at 9 am on Thursdays for those living in priority zip codes, and 9 am on Fridays for eligible residents in every ward. However, new slots fill up within minutes.
The changes will address criticisms against DC Health over failing to make COVID-19 vaccination equitable. The new system will be “more flexible and accessible for people 24 hours a day online,” Nesbitt said, adding that the call center will also work for extended periods of time.
“Currently demand for the vaccine in DC is much higher than the supply we are receiving from federal government. Mayor Bowser and DC Health continue to advocate for the federal government to send more vaccine so that we can meet the high demand for it and protect the lives of our residents and our workforce,” Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s office says.
The District has lost 980 residents to COVID-19 as of Monday, February 15, while its overall positive case total has surpassed 39,000, according to data released by the city.
More than one in three DC seniors have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far.