While the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to the District, there are still some logistical issues to be worked out before any shots are given.
“We won’t be able to start giving out the vaccine right away,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of the District Department of Health.
According to Nesbitt, the hardest part of this isn’t getting the vaccine to the six medical facilities in the district that will be able to store them, it’s the work that has to be done on the local level.
“While logistically the vaccine may be able to be deployed to communities within a day of the emergency use authorization approval, there are still other things that need to be put in place at the community level to ensure that vaccinators, health care providers have all of the information that they need to safely vaccinate the public,” Nesbitt said. “And that members of the public can receive all the information they need from vaccinators or health care providers to make informed decisions about their choices.”
Nesbitt also said the District had secured additional medical supplies that will be needed once vaccine administration begins, including 184,000 needles and syringes as well as one million alcohol prep pads and band aids.
Nesbitt did not offer a specific time, but said it could take days.
“All of us would want a health care provider who is going to be administering a vaccine to us to have sufficient time to be trained on that specific vaccine,” said Nesbitt.
Once vaccine administration begins, it has been made clear that the first group to be vaccinated will be medical workers.
Some asked if Mayor Muriel Bowser would follow the model of other elected officials and take the vaccine as a public service model.
“Some people would like me to, but I don’t fall into the first wave category,” she said. “Dr. Nesbitt does, and she will. Our EMS providers do and they will. I will just as soon as it’s my turn.”
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