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 fewer doses available than the number of people who qualify for them. But the supplies from the federal government have been increasing.
The health departments make more appointments available every week as they get more doses from the federal government.
Which brands of vaccine are available?
Do I have to get vaccinated in my state, or can I go to another state?
Virginia, Maryland and D.C. officials encourage everyone to get vaccinated where they live. Virginia officials, however, have stressed that no one will be turned away, given that all adults are now eligible and the goal is herd immunity. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has said anyone can go to the FEMA vaccination site in Greenbelt. In D.C., the list of providers who will vaccinate nonresidents is shrinking — Mayor Muriel E. Bowser asked D.C. hospitals to stop vaccinating nonresident workers.
How can I make an appointment or register to get a vaccine?
D.C. residents who are eligible can sign up for a vaccination appointment here. In addition to the city’s registration system, which allows eligible residents and workers 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. Children’s National opened a waitlist for 16- and 17-year-olds with medical conditions who qualify for the vaccine. Only 200 spots will be available on the waitlist at a time; Diana Troese, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said new spots may open daily.
The District is beginning to transition away from its preregistration system in favor of “high-capacity” walk-up vaccination sites. On Saturday, May 1, the city will begin using 11 vaccination sites that don’t require an appointment. Hours and locations of the walk-up sites will be posted on vaccinefinder.org. Residents can still schedule appointments directly with city pharmacies, clinics and health care providers, but D.C. stopped accepting pre-registrations through its portal on April 28.
Maryland residents who are eligible to get vaccinated can find a vaccination clinic here and register directly with the vaccine provider. Maryland residents may also need to contact multiple clinics from this map to find an appointment. The state launched a centralized preregistration system for people to sign up for appointments at one of the state’s 12 mass vaccination sites. The mass vaccination sites in Salisbury, Hagerstown and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore are providing walk-up access, as is the FEMA mass vaccination site at the Greenbelt Metro station.
Virginia created a statewide registration system for residents to register for vaccine appointments. Appointments can also be made at pharmacies through www.vaccinefinder.com. Residents who don’t have Internet access or who require a translator 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.
What about mass vaccination sites?
Maryland has 12 mass vaccination sites across the state, including Six Flags in Prince George’s, M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Regency Furniture Stadium in Charles County, and others in Hagerstown and Salisbury. Virginia also has several mass vaccination sites, including at the Stonebridge Vaccination Center in Alexandria and at the former Gander Mountain store at the Potomac Mills shopping plaza in Prince William County. The District opened a mass vaccination site at Arena Stage in Southwest D.C. on April 9. Most operate on an appointment-only basis; Maryland’s mass vaccination sites in Hagerstown, Salisbury and at the M&T Bank Stadium site in Baltimore are accepting a limited number of walk-ups without appointments, as is the FEMA mass vaccination site at the Greenbelt Metro station.
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. Marylanders also can preregister for the state’s mass vaccination sites here.
District residents can preregister for a vaccine appointment here. It will ask eligible residents to register once and then await an email with a link they can use to make an appointment.
Virginia’s statewide registration system will send out weekly reminders to residents that they are still in the queue. Fairfax County, which has opted 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.
Can I volunteer to help out at a vaccination site?
Right now, the D.C. Medical Reserve Corps is taking both medical and nonmedical volunteers ages 18 and older on an as-needed basis. In Maryland, volunteers can sign up for the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteers for the FEMA Greenbelt vaccination site can register here. Medical professionals in Virginia can sign up to volunteer to give vaccinations through the Virginia Volunteer Vaccinator Registry Program or the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. In Fairfax County, volunteers are needed at the Inova Stonebridge Vaccination Center; find out more here. More volunteer opportunities may become available later as vaccinations continue.
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 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.
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.