Demand remains ‘very high’ in DC for COVID-19 vaccines; some indoor dining to return

Demands for COVID-19 vaccinations remain high in D.C., despite the amount of doses not keeping up, and some indoor dining can return Friday.

Though coronavirus cases remain high, D.C. recently surpassed administrating 1 million tests. It is also ramping up vaccinations, including offering them to residents age 65 and older. But D.C. officials caution that demand still outstrips the supply being provided by the federal government.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser re-emphasized at a briefing on Thursday that “we simply don’t have enough vaccine to meet the demand in our city” while providing more details on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations to larger groups in the District.

As of Jan. 16, about 63,000 doses have been allocated to D.C., while 41,000 have been recorded as administered.

D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt explained the gap as reflective of the lead time of appointments and a lag of reporting vaccines as having been administered. The gap between the two numbers “will never go away until the program is over,” she said.

Nesbitt added, “We’re in the top tier” among states and other jurisdictions as far as getting vaccines into people. She added that all the vaccine doses that D.C. has been allocated have been scheduled.

“We look forward to working with the Biden administration” on getting more doses for District residents, Bowser said. “We know that demand in D.C. is very high.”

Bowser said the D.C. vaccination portal would release a fresh batch of appointment slots at 9 a.m. each Thursday for residents who qualify in priority ZIP codes, mainly Wards 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, and at 9 a.m. Friday for residents everywhere.

Next week, teachers and support staff for D.C. Public Schools and D.C. public charter schools will start getting vaccines. Child care workers are not yet included among the essential workers eligible for vaccines.

Bowser added, “If we had more vaccine, they would be included. … We’re working as fast as we can with the vaccines that are available.”

The mayor said the District was expecting 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 5,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week. And 975 doses will be reserved for Sibley and Johns Hopkins for on-site vaccine clinics in D.C. Housing Authority senior housing.

DC indoor dining to resume at 25% capacity

Restaurants in D.C. can resume indoor dining at 25% capacity after 5 a.m. Friday, when the city ends its ban on indoor dining, according to John J. Falcicchio, who serves as both chief of staff to Bowser and deputy mayor for planning and economic development.

Restaurant Week, which had been delayed because of the ban, will now start Monday, Jan. 25.

The ban on indoor dining went into effect on Dec. 23 amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Museums will also be able be open, but no more than 250 people will be allowed on a floor at one time. Guided tours will also be suspended.

D.C. is still struggling with rising case loads. As of Thursday, it recorded 209 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total since the pandemic began to more than 34,600 cases and 864 deaths.

Other parts of the Dec. 23 order will remain in effect. Libraries will only offer pickup and drop-off services, according to a news release. The DC Circulator’s National Mall route will also remain suspended.

At Department of Parks and Recreation sites, reservations for swimming and fitness rooms are the only indoor activities permitted.

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.

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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