DC leaders try to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates with east-of-the-river effort

A Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. got a visit from Anthony Fauci and Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday. Volunteers are going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. (WTOP/John Domen)

A Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. got a visit from Anthony Fauci and Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday. Volunteers are going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. (WTOP/John Domen)

A Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. got a visit from Anthony Fauci and Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday. Volunteers are going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. (WTOP/John Domen)

A Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. got a visit from Anthony Fauci and Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday. Volunteers are going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. (WTOP/John Domen)

A Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. got a visit from Anthony Fauci and Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday. Volunteers are going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. (WTOP/John Domen)

A Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. got a visit from Anthony Fauci and Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday. Volunteers are going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. (WTOP/John Domen)

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Across the entire city, more than 70% of the adult population in the District has received at least one COVID-19 vaccination.

But while that may be the average over all eight wards, it’s not the average in every single one of the District’s eight wards.

To change that, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci participated in another Community Corps Day of Action in Southeast D.C. on Saturday.

They visited with volunteers who’ve been knocking on doors and encouraging people to get jabbed with a vaccine shot at places like Anacostia High School, Ron Brown High School and other venues.

City residents 18 and up who get their first shot between now and July 17 will get a VISA gift card with $51. Residents who get that first shot on Saturday at places like Anacostia High will also be entered into drawings for free groceries, Metro passes and even cars and airline tickets.

“Your chances of winning are very, very good,” said Bowser, standing outside Kramer Middle School.

“We know the devastating impact that COVID has had on African Americans,” Bowser told the crowd. “We know that 80% of the people that are still getting COVID are African American, and we know that 90% of the people who have died from COVID in our city are African American. This should not be the case.”

When Fauci took his turn behind the mic, he said that that the 90% effectiveness of the COVID shots is better than most other vaccines available for various illnesses.

“Getting vaccinated, you can stop the chain of transmission of the virus and that’s exactly what we want to do,” said Fauci. “We want to be dead-ends for the virus. When the virus comes to us, sorry, stop signs, you’re not getting infected — and that’s what vaccines do.”

Before appearing at Kramer Middle School, they toured the clinic at Anacostia High, just a block away. There, they stopped and surprised people who had just gotten their first shots, as well as volunteers, as they got a briefing on what the situation was in this part of the city. That led to hugs, handshakes and pictures by those who were already inside.

Asking about the vaccination percentage in Ward 8, Fauci was told by a staffer at the clinic that only about 30% to 40% of the ward has been vaccinated, depending on which set of data you look at.

“You’ve got to to correct that,” said Fauci, “and you’re doing it. You’re doing it.”

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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