How a young DC law student got vaccinated against COVID-19

A law student shopping at a D.C. grocery store had a stroke of luck that led to a COVID-19 vaccine shot in his arm.

David MacMillan, 31, of D.C., just finished receiving his second dose on Friday, but how did he even get a first shot when he is not a first responder, a health care worker or 65 years old? He picked the right time to go shopping at a Giant Food in the Brentwood neighborhood.

“I was on my way to check out; they had extra doses that were going to go to waste, and they were offering them to anyone who would take them,” MacMillan said.

He said when it appeared other shoppers in the store were not interested in getting vaccinated, he stepped up and got his first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Vials containing the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine must be used once opened. In D.C., those administering the shots have been given permission from the city to give remaining doses to anyone willing to receive them.

MacMillan said after the first shot, he only had some slight side effects, which he said were similar to what he experiences when getting a flu shot. “I felt a little achy for a while, and I had a headache,” he said.

At the Northeast D.C. store on Friday, several people were waiting by the pharmacy, hoping to get the same offer MacMillan got.

One man in his 20s, who didn’t want to be identified, said he came to the store because he has a weakened immune system but hasn’t been able to get an appointment. “It seems like it’s going to be an unsuccessful effort, but it’s worth trying for me, at least,” the man said.

After the shot, MacMillan was given an “I VACCINATED” sticker to mark the occasion.

David MacMillan
David MacMillan completes his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

He said he is thankful and fortunate that he was able to get the shots as early as he did. “It is such a good feeling to be vaccinated; it is such a good feeling to know that I’m safe,” MacMillan said.

Health officials have expressed concerns that people who are vaccinated would abandon safety protocols, such as wearing a face mask or social distancing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told WTOP that it remains unknown if vaccinated people can catch and spread the coronavirus.

If you’re vaccinated, you could still carry the virus, Fauci said: “It is conceivable that you get infected, you don’t know it, you don’t get sick, you’re doing fine — but you’re shedding enough virus that you may be a threat to other people.”

MacMillan said he will continue to follow public health guidance for stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“I am going to continue wearing my mask until health authorities say not to,” MacMillan said. “That’s what’s going to protect everybody.”


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.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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