Washington, D.C., officials say they need far more initial doses of a COVID-19 vaccine than federal health officials are planning to provide.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Operation Warp Speed are planning to give 8,000 doses to D.C. in an initial distribution once a vaccine is available, D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said Monday. That’s just one-tenth of the estimated 80,000 doses needed, she said.
Federal officials calculated their figure based on D.C.’s population, not the size of the workforce — large portions of which live in neighboring Maryland or Virginia.
D.C. officials said they asked federal authorities to reconsider. Neither HHS nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immediately responded to inquiries.
Health care workers and first responders will top D.C.’s list for who will get a COVID-19 vaccination once it’s available, Nesbitt said.
Phase one will be divided into group A, made up of health care workers and first responders, and group B, made up of other essential workers — including teachers, child care providers and food service workers — plus people at high risk of serious illness from covid, including people age 65 and older.
City officials are preparing to distribute the vaccine once it’s available. The city purchased one refrigeration system and several private entities already have them or are buying them, Nesbitt said.
On Saturday, D.C. announced more coronavirus infections on a single day, 371, than on any other day since the pandemic began.