Since that change, the proportion of appointments claimed by residents of the three affluent wards has dropped to 49.5 percent — an indication that the new system has reduced the disparity in distribution.
Jurisdictions across the Washington region have altered their scheduling and distribution plans for vaccines in recent days as demand outstrips supply.
On Thursday in D.C., when appointments were open only to prioritized Zip codes, they were claimed in less than 20 minutes. Nesbitt noted that residents of Wards 2, 3 and 6 also are getting most of the appointments offered through channels other than the city’s portal, such as hospitals.
She said Thursday that she also is looking at possible changes to the city’s mask-wearing guidance. Nesbitt said she does not suggest doubling up on masks but does recommend against single-layer cloth masks in favor of surgical masks and others that offer better protection.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Thursday cited improving coronavirus metrics statewide in announcing that bars and restaurants will no longer be required to close at 10 p.m., starting Monday. Indoor dining capacity will continue to be capped at 50 percent.
The governor’s change will have no practical effect in Maryland’s Washington suburbs, which have maintained tougher restrictions than those required at the state level. Throughout the pandemic, Hogan has let localities set a slower pace for reopening, which the region’s suburbs generally have done.
“With our data trends showing continued improvement, the holiday surges behind us, and the increasing speed of vaccinations, we are now able to take this step,” Hogan said in a statement.
Maryland’s seven-day average caseload on Thursday stood at 2,033, down from a peak of 3,228 on Jan. 12.
The greater Washington region added 7,578 new coronavirus infections and 128 fatalities on Thursday. Virginia added 5,121 cases and 80 deaths, Maryland added 2,190 cases and 41 deaths, and D.C. added 267 cases and seven deaths.
Infection rates have trended downward across the region for more than two weeks. The seven-day rolling average of new cases across D.C., Maryland and Virginia stood Thursday at 7,117 — down from a peak of 8,698 on Jan. 12. The number of deaths attributed to the virus has continued to hover at elevated levels, averaging about 100 each day.
As of Thursday, Virginia has administered 641,873 doses of the coronavirus vaccine and Maryland has administered 449,916 doses. D.C. has administered 51,421 of the 68,750 vaccine doses it had received as of Saturday.