On Monday, any D.C. resident over the age of 16 will be eligible for Covid vaccination, potentially creating even more competition for appointment slots that have already been difficult to book.
Recognizing the challenges many of our residents face when it comes to getting the shot, MidCity’s RIA Resident Services team at Brookland Manor is going the extra mile to boost our community’s vaccination rate by helping residents arrange appointments and providing transportation when needed.
It’s no secret that Ward 5 has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus — with triple the death rate of Wards 2 and 3 — and has been one of the slowest to achieve vaccine immunity, according to data from the D.C. Department of Health.
According to a report from the D.C. Council’s Office of Racial Equity, there are at least five main barriers to achieving high vaccination rates:
- Nearly half of the doses allocated to D.C. actually went to non-residents who were essential workers working in the District;
- Lack of internet access, online appointment slots that disappear while residents are filling out the long forms, and long wait times on phone registration systems have made it difficult to sign up;
- Lack of vaccination sites in less wealthy wards makes it difficult to get to the clinic;
- Many of D.C.’s pharmacies were not eligible to provide vaccines or to be reimbursed for doing so; and
- A long history of racist and unethical practices in medical research has bred mistrust toward the medical community.
All of this has left Wards 5, 7 and 8 with the lowest vaccination rates in the District, with 7.7%, 5.4% and 3.9% of residents fully vaccinated, respectively, as of March 19.
Among other improvements, D.C. has added server capacity to the online system, and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office is calling on all D.C. residents to pre-register in the system by going to vaccinate.dc.gov or calling 1-855-363-0333. (It is also possible to book directly through your doctor, through the Veterans Affairs Medical Center if you are a veteran or spouse of a veteran, or through the CVS website if you meet certain criteria.)
To even the playing field, the pre-registration system will then send out invitations to schedule an actual appointment.
At least 50% of slots are reserved for members of priority groups based on age and zip code. Residents of the 20018 zip code are a targeted priority group.
The RIA team will continue to provide help with registration and transportation, as needed, until every resident who wants the shot has received it.
So far, together we’ve helped more than 73 residents arrange appointments and provided clinic transportation for 21 residents.