AARP and DC Health hold town hall to clear up seniors’ questions about vaccine appointments

A third coronavirus vaccine could be available in the U.S. by the end of the month. Johnson and Johnson has asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its vaccine for emergency use. "CBS This Morning" lead national correspondent David Begnaud reports several of the new variants of the virus are spreading, and CBSN's Tanya Rivero spoke with infectious disease specialist Dr. Uzma Syed, director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in New York.
AARP and D.C. Health teamed up for a recent town hall to address seniors’  logistical concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

During the virtual town hall on Friday, D.C. Health Director Dr. Laquandra Nesbitt answered questions on everything from handling technology issues to what kind of chronic health condition qualifies seniors to sign up for the vaccine.

Above all else, seniors asked how they can get their vaccine appointments, to which Nesbitt said the District is trying to make sure everyone can easily get an appointment.

Those struggling to fill in an online form can call in to a call center that will help schedule an appointment. The number to call in is 1-(855)-363-0333.

“If you call in to make an appointment, if you have email, they’ll send you the email verification of your appointment,” Nesbitt said. “You can continue to use the correspondence electronically after you have successfully been registered via the call center.”

She said D.C. has vaccinated one in three of all seniors who have asked for appointments and they are continuing to try to make the process easier.

“The call center is set up to be able to help people get around those challenges,” Nesbitt said. “We’ve increased the number of staff who work at the call center, you have dedicated numbers of appointments for people through the call center to be able to be responsive to these issues.”

She says the goal is to vaccinate 70% of the District’s senior population by the end of the month.

Another concern during the call from local seniors was chronic health conditions.

Nesbitt said that if you have a chronic health condition, you will not have to prove that fact with a doctor’s note to get a coronavirus vaccine.

“People will not have to go to their doctor to get a note to attest, we’re not trying to create artificial barriers for people to be able to access vaccinations,” Nesbitt said.

The District is still working out the specifics when it comes to who will be eligible under the chronic condition tier.

There’s another group of essential workers between the current tier and when those with chronic health conditions are eligible.

“We’re going to be very liberal, in the District of Columbia, in terms of which chronic health conditions would qualify,” Nesbitt said.

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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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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