As President Joe Biden raises expectations for how many people will be vaccinated within his first 100 days in office, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are struggling to keep up with demand.
Many people have felt left behind by how local health departments are organizing the rollout. In other cases, people are skipping the lines to get vaccines.
New mass COVID-19 vaccination sites are set to open across Maryland in February, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Six Flags America in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore Convention Center will be among the first six mass vaccination sites in the state, due to open to the public by Feb. 5, Hogan said. M&T Bank Stadium will also be set up as a mass vaccination site when the state can secure higher allocations of vaccine.
National Guard troops who were deployed to D.C. during the presidential inauguration will be reassigned to help "plan, build and launch" the mass vaccination sites.
Additionally, 22 Giant locations, 3 Martin’s locations, and 10 Walmart locations throughout Maryland have all begun offering vaccinations this week. Starting next week, 16 Safeway and Rite Aid locations in the state will begin offering vaccinations.
Hogan also provided some updates about the delays in coronavirus vaccinations. Currently, Maryland is only allocated roughly 10,000 doses per day for the 2 million people who fall within the Phase 1 category.
Maryland will need a total of 4 million doses to complete Phase 1 (with two doses per person required for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines). There is currently a remaining supply of 110,000 first doses available, nearly all of which are already “scheduled and spoken for,” Hogan said.
At the current rate of 10,000 daily allocated doses, it would take 400 days – over a year – for 4 million doses to be allocated to Marylanders in Phase 1 alone.
“The plain truth is, that for at least the near future, we fully expect the demand for vaccines will continue to far exceed the supply that will be available to us,” Gov. Hogan said.
Twelve million doses will be needed for every Marylander to be vaccinated. Maryland is currently in Phase 1C.
Some Georgetown University medical students who were not eligible for shots received COVID-19 vaccines anyway, a university spokesperson confirmed Monday.
Those students don’t work in a health care setting and were not granted permission by the school, MedStar Health or MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, the spokesperson said.
Medical students who meet face-to-face with patients and are in their third and fourth years are eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine.
Georgetown didn’t say how the ineligible students received the shots but said the school of medicine “takes violations of professionalism extremely seriously” and will take appropriate action.
People age 65 and older in Maryland can now register to get the COVID vaccine. But while the number of people eligible is growing, the supply is lagging.
Montgomery County leaders say inadequate supply and logistic issues are partly to blame.
Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles receives a “fraction” of the vaccine doses that he requests weekly, Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker said.
Gayles said he only found out Saturday night how many doses were coming to the county this week, making it difficult to set up vaccination sites and get that information out to the public.
“Right now, we are working on a week to week basis,” he said.
As D.C. tries to roll out vaccines to new groups — particularly teachers — other who work with youth are concerned they’re being left out.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said it was disappointed last week to learn that private school teachers weren’t being prioritized the same as public and charter school educators.
Most of D.C.’s Catholic schools have been open since fall. But initial city plans emphasized outreach to public and charter school teachers. Now, private school leaders are expecting new information from DC Health.
“While we still do not know a specific timeline, we are optimistic that DC health now has a plan for our school employees,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
The District also responded to child care workers who have pushed not to be left behind in the vaccination effort.
DC Health asked licensed child care facilities to submit the names and email addresses of in-person staff by noon Thursday. The city plans to reach out to eligible workers to set up vaccination appointments in February.
Day care teachers and providers are still in the 1b category for receiving the vaccine, but they were moved down within that category, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week, citing supply issues.
Ward 4 Council Member Janeese Lewis George said that “delaying vaccinations for child care workers any longer undermines fairness, equity and public health.”
Inova Health canceled thousands of vaccination appointments that were scheduled for Tuesday, including for Fairfax County Public Schools teachers.
Supply issues were blamed for the canceled appointments.
What the Data Shows
The D.C. region reported 150 lives lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday — the largest jump in coronavirus deaths ever reported.
Despite this somber news, official health data continues to indicate that new infections are decreasing.
D.C. reported 195 new cases and nine lives lost on Tuesday. In Maryland, 1,482 new cases were reported, and 62 people died. Virginia recorded 3,367 additional cases and 79 deaths.
Seven-day averages in the region declined across the board. D.C.’s average dropped by four cases to 206. Maryland’s seven-day average has decreased for two weeks straight as of Tuesday, when it hit 2,062. Virginia’s seven-day average is at 3,300 – the eighth consecutive day of a decreasing case trend.
The test positivity rate in D.C. hit 5% on Tuesday, falling in line with CDC recommendations, but still two percentage points short of D.C.’s goal rate. In Maryland, the positivity rate is down to 6.64%. In Virginia, it’s down to 12.5%.
Vaccination Portals by County
As vaccinations in our region ramp up, here's a look at local portals residents can use to sign up for vaccination appointments or sign up to receive alerts.
- Washington, D.C. signups– vaccinate.dc.gov
- Maryland signups – www.marylandvax.org/ and covidvax.maryland.gov
- Virginia information – www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
- Montgomery County – www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/
- Prince George's County – www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3730/COVID-19-Vaccination
- Howard County – www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/MM-Alerts-and-Recalls/COVID-19-Vaccine
- Anne Arundel County – aahealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-faq/
- Fairfax County – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine
- City of Alexandria – www.alexandriava.gov/health/info/default.aspx?id=119270
- Loudoun County – www.loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine
- Prince William County – coronavirus.pwcgov.org/vaccine-information/ & VDH
To get a better idea of when you'll be eligible to receive a vaccine, use our tool below.
When Could I Get the Vaccine?
Answer the questions to calculate your risk profile and see where you fall in your county's and state's vaccine lineup. This estimate is based on a combination of vaccine rollout recommendations from the CDC and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group, see this methodology.
Source: the Vaccine Allocation Planner for COVID-19 by Ariadne Labs and the Surgo Foundation
Interactive by Amy O’Kruk/NBC
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Just as millions of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine, the News4 I-Team has learned the outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services made it much harder to get compensated for the most common vaccine injury.
- COVID-19 vaccine supply shortages forced Inova Health System to cancel first-dose appointments for people in Northern Virginia’s Group 1B, a group that includes employees of Fairfax County Public Schools.
- D.C.’s child care workers are asking officials not to push back their COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says school districts should resume in-person learning by March 1 or face legal action, which the state teacher's union says is a threat to educators.
- Police officers who risked their lives during the deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol have been hailed as heroes. On Friday, Chief Robert Contee said some of those heroes have since tested positive for COVID-19.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed economic relief package would provide $750 for qualifying families if approved by state legislators.
- Maryland reported its first two confirmed cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19.
- Two D.C. friends got a lucky break while in Giant Food in D.C.: When someone didn't show up for their vaccination appointment, the pharmacist asked a man and his friend if they wanted to get the Moderna shot.
- The high level of coronavirus cases is putting stress on Northern Virginia hospitals — and the health care professionals who work there.
- The stress of the pandemic is a grind. A data analysis from the American Dental Association shows a surge in cases of teeth grinding, clenching and cracking during the COVID-19 crisis. The increases are striking and potentially costly and painful for sufferers.
- A professor is using the trust Black Americans have in barbers to make them more comfortable with taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
- A rapid antigen test might seem like a great idea when you're in a hurry and don't have time to wait a few days for results, but those tests are really designed for people with COVID-19 symptoms and in asymptomatic patients can deliver false positive results.
- COVID-19 numbers continue to paint a dire picture for Black Americans, and there is an ongoing effort in the Black community to increase testing.
- A judge upheld Montgomery County, Maryland's ban on indoor dining.
- D.C. has lifted its ban on indoor dining, but libraries and recreation centers are still closed.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed because of rising COVID-19 cases.
- Hours before some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning, the school district said that they needed to delay the plan.
- Courts throughout Maryland remain partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
How to Stay Safe
Anyone can get COVID-19. Here are three simple ways the CDC says you can lower your risk:
- Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.