Bowser gets 1st COVID-19 vaccine shot as DC officials lament lack of doses

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday. (Courtesy D.C. Mayor’s Office)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser got her first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday as Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt called the District’s supply of shots “dismal.”

“I hate needles,” Bowser said at a Capitol Hill Medical Center news conference before getting her shot, responding to a reporter’s question about why it’s important to have city leaders get vaccinated publicly.

“But it is important for all of us to get the vaccine when it’s our turn so that we can get our lives back to normal. And people rightly have questions and concerns. And I hear those questions in my social circle and circle of family and friends who are asking questions, educating themselves, so that they’re prepared when it’s their turn. And so I want to let everybody know, I’ve done all of that — important questions and asking and getting the answers that I need.”

An advanced urgent care nurse with Kaiser Permanente administered Bowser’s dose and added that the mayor’s second dose has already been scheduled.

About 50 people in D.C.’s emergency operations center will also get their first doses.

The mayor’s vaccination comes amid news that D.C. public school teachers are also slated to get their shots, a week before thousands of students return for in-person learning.

Nesbitt, wearing a mask that read “DC NEEDS MORE VACCINE,” said the District’s efforts to combat the coronavirus are being hampered by a lack of doses.

“So even with our best plans, and as rolling out the phases and the tiers two weeks ago, we are still in a position where we cannot implement fully any tier of a specific phase,” Nesbitt said. “So our goal of creating tiers within our phases was that we would be able to fully implement a tier of a phase, but we can’t even manage to do that with the dismal amount of vaccines that we are receiving.”

Bowser said D.C. is still considering whether or not to create a waitlist for vaccinations.

“Well, you can have anxiety for one week, or you can have anxiety waiting for months with a waitlist or a date. So we are carefully considering all of our options,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that we’re waiting to have a waitlist, but we want to make sure that we have the best processes in place. And so we’ll continue to consider that.”

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

DC coronavirus numbers

D.C. reported 204 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 35,505.

Seven additional COVID-19 deaths were reported. So far, 879 District residents have lost their lives to the virus.

Track the District’s data online. Below are maps of cases by ward and neighborhood.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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