The District will receive a combined 16,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Maryland and Virginia to bolster the city’s efforts to inoculate local health care workers amid a worsening pandemic.
Maryland and Virginia will each provide the District with 8,000 doses of the vaccine in hopes of offering the city’s 85,000 health care workers better access to vaccination, DCist reported. The states’ incoming package of vaccines will more than double the nearly 7,000 doses the federal government allocated to D.C., which was set to cover fewer than a tenth of health care workers employed in the District, about 75 percent of whom live in either Maryland or Virginia.
Dennis Schrader, Maryland’s acting secretary of health, issued a letter to D.C. Health Director Laquandra Nesbitt, informing her of the shipment Wednesday, but he didn’t state when the vaccines might arrive.
“We believe in working together as part of the National Capital Region to protect all of our citizens, especially our national frontline healthcare heroes,” Schrader said in the letter.
Nesbitt announced Virginia’s plans to provide their own 8,000 doses during a press conference Monday, as state officials hope to inoculate their residents who work in the health care field in D.C.
DCist reported that the aid from neighboring states will help city officials accelerate the vaccination of long-term care residents, the second-priority group in D.C.
Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to officials overseeing Operation Warp Speed earlier this month, urging national leaders to offer the city a larger shipment to help mitigate the District’s shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses.
The GW Hospital, which will store and distribute a portion of the city’s vaccine doses, became the first active distribution site Monday when five hospital employees became the first to receive a vaccine in the District. The hospital’s first vaccine shipment totaled 900 doses.