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. 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?
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement April 13 that the federal government would encourage states to temporarily stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while scientists evaluate the risk of blood clots, which have been reported in six patients out of 6.8 million who have received the shot so far, D.C., Maryland and Virginia all said they would suspend use of that shot. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are still available.
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 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, everyone age 16 and over is eligible as of April 6, regardless of underlying medical conditions. However, the state urged providers to prioritize people with conditions identified by the CDC as increasing risk of severe illness.
The District is offering vaccinations to people 16 or older with serious health problems. 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 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, some essential workers such as health-care workers and teachers can get vaccinated in the state in which they work.
Although state leaders have said that they prefer that vaccines only go to their state’s residents, some mass vaccination sites in Maryland and Virginia have made appointments available to residents of the District and other jurisdictions.
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, but mass vaccination sites including Six Flags in Prince George’s remain open to all Marylanders. In Northern Virginia, frustrated residents who are not yet eligible in their communities have gotten their shots in rural areas that are further along the state’s various tiers of eligibility.
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.
On March 10, the city’s revamped portal for vaccine appointments launched. It asks eligible residents to register once and then await an email with a link they can use to make an appointment. Once registrants are chosen to get a vaccine, they will be notified through a call, a text or an email and will need to book their appointment within 48 hours — or wait until they are selected again. Going forward, invitations will be sent out at 10 a.m. Thursdays and Sundays. Eligible individuals may also register over the phone. Forty percent of the initial portal appointments will be reserved for residents 65 and older, while an additional 40 percent will go to residents ages 18 to 64 with a qualifying medical condition. Twenty percent of appointments will go to essential workers. Half of all these appointments are reserved for people who live in priority Zip codes.
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 the state’s mass vaccination sites. By the end of April, there will be 12 mass vaccination sites statewide. The mass vaccination sites in Salisbury, Hagerstown and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore are providing walk-up access.
Virginia created a 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.
What about mass vaccination sites?
Maryland has several mass 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. Twelve will be open by the end of April. 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.
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 register by phone.
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 get priority through health departments and mass vaccination sites, and can find a vaccination clinic here.
In Virginia, residents can use the state’s 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.
I’m not eligible yet. 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.” All residents age 16 and over are eligible at mass vaccination sites now and beginning on April 12 at other providers.
Virginia residents can check their health departments’ websites for more information on vaccine stages. (Click here for Virginia.)
D.C. plans to make the remaining essential workers eligible in stages. On March 29, journalists who work in person and ride-share drivers became eligible.
The District plans to open vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and up on April 12. This does not mean that there will be enough doses available to give every adult a shot that day, but any adult can seek a vaccine at that point.
Which groups will get vaccinated next?
Maryland began making vaccines available to everyone 16 and older on April 6. The District and Virginia are moving through their final categories of essential workers. Virginia plans to make everyone 16 and older eligible by April 18. The District will do that on April 12.
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. And Virginia has the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. More volunteer opportunities may become available later as vaccinations continue to ramp up.
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.