(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health, led by Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, announced updates to the process of registering for a vaccination appointment in Washington, DC.
Beginning next week, the District will switch over to a pre-registration system for making vaccination appointments. Under the new system, individuals will be able to provide their information to DC Health through a pre-registration website or by calling the District’s call center. As appointments are made available, individuals who have pre-registered will receive an email, phone call, and/or text message alerting them that they have an opportunity to make a vaccination appointment. Equity will continue to be a top priority, and DC Health will continue to set aside appointments for residents living in priority zip codes.
This week, the District will continue to use the vaccinate.dc.gov appointment portal and call center. DC Health and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) have been working with Microsoft to ensure a better user experience. Improvements include increased server availability for the portal and the addition of a “waiting room” that will only allow 3,000 users to access the appointment questionnaire at a time. Additionally, to improve the user experience and increase accessibility, this week, the CAPTCHA has been removed from the vaccinate.dc.gov questionnaire.
Appointments will open at 9 am on Thursday and Friday for DC residents. Just for this week, vaccine appointments will not open to members of eligible workforce groups.
On Thursday, March 4 at 9 am, approximately 5,750 appointments will open to the following DC residents who live in priority zip codes:
- DC residents who live in priority zip codes and are 65 and older
- DC residents who live in priority zip codes and are 18-64 with a qualifying medical condition
On Friday, March 5 at 9 am, approximately 5,750 appointments will open to the following DC residents in any zip code:
- DC residents 65 and older
- DC residents 18-64 with a qualifying medical condition
Residents can expect to see several new vaccination sites listed on the portal this week. These new locations will serve as high-capacity sites where the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine will be administered. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in the United States. While users will be able to see when choosing a vaccination site which vaccine will be administered there, DC Health is emphasizing that all available vaccines have been proven effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Residents are highly encouraged to take the first vaccine available to them.
Qualifying medical conditions include: Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and other Chronic Lung Disease; Bone Marrow and Solid Organ Transplantation; Cancer; Cerebrovascular Disease; Chronic Kidney Disease; Congenital Heart Disease; Diabetes Mellitus; Heart Conditions, such as Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, or Cardiomyopathies; HIV; Hypertension; Immunocompromised State; Inherited Metabolic Disorders; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Liver Disease; Neurologic Conditions; Obesity, BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2; Pregnancy; Severe Genetic Disorders; Sickle Cell Disease; and Thalassemia.
Residents who are unsure whether they qualify for the vaccine based on a qualifying medical condition should contact their health care provider.
At this time, appointments booked through the portal and call center are open to individuals 18 years old and older. District residents who are 16 or 17 years of age and have a qualifying medical condition and are not an existing patient of Children’s National Hospital or HSC, can pre-register for a vaccination at Children’s National Hospital by following the link posted on coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccine.
The priority zip codes are focused in Wards 5, 7, and 8 and include: 20422, 20011, 20017, 20018, 20002, 20001, 20019, 20020, 20032, 20593. Priority zip codes include areas of the city where residents are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including number of cases and mortality rate. Wards 5, 7, and 8 are being prioritized because they have the lowest percentages of residents who are 65 and older who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
As of this week, the following populations are now eligible for 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; Continuity of District Government personnel; Department of Corrections employees and residents; teachers and staff who are, or will be, working in person at a traditional or public charter school; child care workers and teachers and staff at independent schools in DC; individuals who work in a grocery store setting; outreach workers in health, human, and social services; individuals who work in manufacturing; individuals who work in food packaging; DC residents 16-64 years old with qualifying medical conditions.
Updated Health Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals
Additionally, this week, DC Health updated several guidance documents for individuals who are fully vaccinated. Updated guidance documents on coronavirus.dc.gov/phasetwo:
- Guidance for Travel
- First Steps for Non-Healthcare Employers when Employees Test Positive for COVID-19
- Guidance for Close Contacts of a Person Confirmed to have COVID-19
- Guidance for Quarantine after COVID-19 Exposure
As studies continue about the ability of fully vaccinated people to transmit the virus, individuals who get vaccinated should continue to wear masks, social distance, and practice good hygiene. However, as is indicated in the updated guidance documents, for 90 days after their final vaccine dose, fully vaccinated individuals who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine after close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. This is one example of how day-to-day life will continue to adjust and improve as more individuals get vaccinated.