In Virginia and Maryland, doses are also available now in many jurisdictions for people with certain underlying health conditions. D.C. is vaccinating younger adults with health conditions beginning March 1.
How many doses have been given out so far?
Is there enough vaccine for everyone who is now eligible to get one?
No. Every state gets a new allotment of doses each week, and they have far fewer doses available than the number of people who qualify for them.
The health departments make more appointments available every week as they get more doses from the federal government.
Which medical conditions will qualify residents for early coronavirus vaccines?
In Virginia, people with medical conditions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say are proven to increase the severity of coronavirus infections, including cancer, chronic kidney disease and certain heart conditions, are currently eligible for vaccinations. The Virginia Department of Health says many of those individuals will be offered the vaccine through their health care providers.
In Maryland, hospital patients who are receiving cancer treatment or hemodialysis, who have undergone a solid organ transplant or who suffer from COPD or Type 1 or 2 diabetes are all currently eligible for a vaccine. Those with illnesses who are not current hospital patients will become eligible later.
The District plans to offer vaccinations to people 16 or older with serious health problems beginning March 1. Residents who have conditions such as cancer, diabetes or kidney or liver disease, or who have a body mass index of 30 or higher can seek a vaccine through their doctor or through the city’s public registration system.
Do I have to get vaccinated in my state, or can I go to another state?
Across the region, health-care workers and teachers can get vaccinated in the state in which they work.
Because the District has a large number of health-care workers who reside in Maryland or Virginia, both states gave thousands of doses allotted to them by the federal government to the District to help vaccinate workers at D.C. hospitals.
Within states, residents have been confused about whether they can get vaccinated in a county where they don’t live. Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) announced Jan. 25 that her county’s health officials are canceling appointments scheduled by Marylanders who don’t live or work in the county.
How can I make an appointment or register to get a vaccine?
D.C. residents 65 or older and those in an eligible workforce group can sign up for a vaccination appointment here. In addition to the city’s registration system, which allows seniors to sign up for shots at retail pharmacies and other locations, the website also offers information about the many D.C. hospital systems that have their own registration systems for vaccinations. Eligible patients might want to try multiple registration systems.
Maryland residents who are eligible to get vaccinated can find a vaccination clinic here. Maryland residents may also need to contact multiple clinics from this map to find an appointment. The state plans to launch a centralized preregistration system in March for people to sign up for appointments at the state’s mass vaccination sites.
Virginia has created a new statewide registration system for residents to register for vaccine appointments. Residents can also call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA to register. However, since Fairfax County has opted out of the state system, residents of that county must continue to register for appointments here. And those seeking to get vaccinated through CVS must still register through that pharmacy’s website, which is not connected with the statewide system.
What about mass vaccination sites?
Maryland plans to open six, and launched two on Feb. 5 and a third on Feb. 25. All operate on an appointment-only basis for Maryland residents, but currently spots are extremely limited. The Six Flags site in Prince George’s County accepts appointments for anyone who is eligible under state rules, regardless of where they live. The Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital screens eligible residents and offers appointments based on age, illness and other factors. Appointments began at a third site — M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore — on Thursday, Feb. 25, and will begin at a fourth site — the Regency Furniture Stadium in Charles County — by March 11. More sites will be added in March if the state has received enough vaccine from the federal government.
I’m a senior citizen. How do I get a vaccine?
In the District, senior citizens can sign up for appointments at vaccinate.dc.gov or can call 855-363-0333 to make an appointment by phone. New appointments open every Thursday at 9 a.m. for residents of certain Zip codes, which are announced each week, and every Friday at 9 a.m. for eligible residents citywide.
Some senior citizens in the District can also make a vaccine appointment through a hospital system or a health clinic, including Kaiser Permanente, Howard University, Sibley and George Washington University health systems and nonprofits including Mary’s Center, Community of Hope, Bread for the City and more. Some appointments are open only to existing patients of those clinics, and some hospital appointments are open to all. The District provides links to all of the health-care providers giving shots here.
In Maryland, residents over 65 (over 75 in some counties, including Montgomery) can find a vaccination clinic here. (Those 65 and older in Montgomery can enter their details at this preregistration link, and when the county has more vaccine doses, they will invite those on this list to schedule appointments.)
In Virginia, residents can use the state’s new registration system to register for vaccine appointments, or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA. However, since Fairfax County has opted out of the system, residents of that county must continue to register for appointments here. And those seeking to get vaccinated through CVS must still register through that pharmacy’s website, which is not connected with the statewide system.
I’m a health-care worker or front-line essential worker. How do I get a vaccine?
You may be able to get vaccinated at your workplace. If not, follow the same steps described above for senior citizens if you work in the District or Virginia. If you work in Maryland, you should receive information about registering for a vaccine through your workplace.
What if I’m a caretaker for a senior citizen? Can I get vaccinated now, too?
No. Some people who care for senior citizens, such as staff at nursing homes and hospitals, are eligible to get vaccinated now. But caring for a senior to whom you are related does not qualify you to get vaccinated before other people of your own age or health status.
I’m not a health-care worker, senior citizen or essential worker. How can I find out when it’s my turn to get a vaccine?
In Maryland, residents who are signed up for the state’s emergency text alerts will get a text message each time the state starts vaccinating a new group. To sign up, send a text message to 898211 with the phrase “MdReady.”
D.C. and Virginia residents can check their health departments’ websites for more information on vaccine stages. (Click here for D.C. and here for Virginia.) D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said she is setting up a registration process that will soon allow the city to collect information about residents seeking the vaccine, then email them when it is their turn to sign up, based on their age, job and health status. The city also will look at whether they live in a neighborhood hard-hit by the virus and their date of registration.
Which groups will get vaccinated next?
Starting March 1, the District will offer coronavirus vaccines to people 16 or older with serious health problems. Residents who have conditions such as cancer, diabetes or kidney or liver disease can seek a vaccine through their doctor or through the city’s public registration system.
Maryland will next offer doses to people ages 16 to 64 with certain health conditions, as well as more essential workers.
Next up in Virginia are remaining essential workers.
Will I be notified when it’s my turn to get a vaccine?
Not automatically. Maryland residents can sign up for notifications by texting the phrase “MdReady” to the number 898211, and Loudoun County residents can text the number 888777 with the phrase “LCCOVID19” to receive notifications in English or “LCCOVIDESP” to receive notifications in Spanish.
District residents can sign up for its vaccine alert system here. Virginia’s new statewide registration system will send out weekly reminders to residents that they are still in the queue. Fairfax County, which is opting out of the state’s registration system, launched its own data dashboard, which allows people who signed up with that county to get more information about when they might get appointments.
Are pharmacies giving doses to anyone if they have extra doses left at the end of the day?
A few lucky people have happened onto a shot this way, like law student David MacMillan, who recorded his experience in a TikTok video that went viral. McMillan and a friend were shopping at a Giant grocery store in Northeast Washington when a pharmacist offered to vaccinate them because she had an open vial of the vaccine that would otherwise be discarded and the store was closing soon.
Could the same thing happen to you? It’s extremely unlikely.
The D.C. health department does urge pharmacists to use doses on any available person rather than let them expire. However, hospitals and health centers have an on-call list of their own staff who are not front-line workers but who could get vaccinated if an extra dose needs to be used. Hanging out at your nearest pharmacy, or calling grocery stores, is not at all likely to get you a vaccination — and spending extra time in public places is a very bad idea if you’re not vaccinated.
Basically, if you’re not an essential worker or in another prioritized group, the best thing to do is stay home and wait.
Are coronavirus vaccinations free?
Yes. Under federal law, Americans won’t pay for the vaccine.
Rebecca Tan, Lola Fadulu, Gregory S. Schneider, Rachel Chason, Antonio Olivo and Erin Cox contributed to this report.