Seeking the COVID-19 vaccine in the DC region? An appointment is required

Vaccine rollouts are having various outcomes depending on where you are in the D.C. region.

In some cases, people are getting turned away even if they had appointments, which happened in Montgomery County on Thursday. 

FOX 5 wanted to check and see if that was the case in other surrounding counties and within the District.

READ MORE: Bowie mayor hosts virtual meeting to address COVID-19 vaccine concerns in Prince George's County

"We haven’t turned anyone away but unfortunately we can’t get to as many people as we want so our number one problem today is a lack of vaccine," said Jefferey McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. "It’s not the county resources we need to be able to vaccinate people. We can vaccinate as many people as we have vaccines for but our challenge is getting it from the state and so I think at this point in time, people are who have registered, need to be patient."

The county has moved onto phase 1B, which includes people who are over the age of 65 and people ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions.

Last Saturday, people who are in the 1A group, including healthcare workers, and the 1B group, which are people 75 and older, received the vaccine at the county’s government center on Government Center Parkway.

The other groups opened on Monday. The county received 22,000 vaccines on Tuesday, much of which McKay said has been used to administer the second dose. Another supply is expected to arrive Tuesday next week but no information on how many will be in the batch. 

The government center will open its vaccination process Saturday from 8 a.m to 6 p.m by appointment only.

READ MORE: Prince George's County residents must fill out pre-registration form to get COVID-19 vaccine

In an announcement from the Virginia Department of Health on Friday, health officials said that the state needs to move on the vaccine quickly. They said health providers need to understand that second doses are coming but they will need to use what supplies they have at the moment. 

In addition, people in group 1B need to know that it will be two to three months to be able to get through this population.

Other areas within Northern Virginia are giving the vaccine without any confusion about appointments, which includes Arlington County.

READ MORE: Additional COVID-19 vaccine appointments available for DC residents 65 and up, health care workers

In a statement from Ryan Hudson, public information officer for the county’s health division, FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan was told:

"Arlington County is currently vaccinating Phase 1a and the initial frontline essential worker groups identified in Phase 1b, by appointment only. Those who are eligible under Virginia’s priority groups are encouraged to pre-register on the County’s website; as vaccine distribution increases, they will be invited to schedule an appointment. The County’s ability to schedule appointments continues to depend on distribution of the vaccine from Virginia. Right now, every available dose that we have has a corresponding arm for it to go into. Arlington County is prepared to ramp up and expedite appointments as soon as the County receives additional doses from Virginia."

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Meanwhile, in neighboring Montgomery County on Thursday, dozens of seniors showed up at Quince Orchard High School because they thought they had appointments since they were confirmed by the county but instead they were turned away.

Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer said Friday, that despite what’s happening elsewhere in Maryland only healthcare workers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Montgomery County, right now. And those seniors who did get appointments to be vaccinated on Thursday were not supposed to.