DC Health provides update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health provided an update on Thursday on the District's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan as the Pfizer vaccine is anticipated to be approved in the coming days.

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D.C. Department of Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt says even after the Pfizer vaccine is approved for Emergency Use Authorization, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) must issue recommendations for vaccine distribution. Vaccinators also must be fully trained before the vaccine can be distributed at the community level.

The District will receive 6,825 doses of the vaccine during the initial allotment. Six sites throughout the District will receive that initial allotment: Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Howard University Hospital, The George Washington University Hospital, Children's National Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.

These sites will partner with health care providers across the District including DC Fire & EMS and DC frontline public health workers.

READ MORE: MedStar Health hospital system prepares for first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Nesbitt says D.C. will use a phased approach to vaccination in line with CDC guidance. Phase 1A will include health care workers and first responders, Phase 1B will include essential workers and at-risk residents, Phase 2 will include the rest of Phase 1 populations and the general public and Phase 3 will include the general public.

Dr. Nesbitt says around 85,000 residents meet the requirements to qualify for Phase 1A, meaning the initial allotment of the vaccine will not be enough to vaccinate everyone in this phase. She says allotment for the District in the coming weeks will depend on production by the manufacturer and community need.

As of this time, DC Health is not able to give specific dates for when specific phases will begin. However, those who qualify for each phase will be reached out to by the D.C. government accordingly.