Washington, D.C., will make COVID-19 vaccines available to all residents 16 years old and up beginning May 1, city officials announced Monday, despite admitting they do not have enough inoculations to meet current demand.
The nation’s capital’s declaration comes less than a week after President Joe Biden announced he would order states and local authorities to make the drug available. He did not say how it would be accomplished and D.C. officials admit they may not have vaccine to distribute.
“These individuals depending again on our vaccine supply, may begin to receive appointments within the week of their eligibility,” D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt told DCist.com. “But again, that is contingent on our vaccine supply.”
The city of about 5.3 million is receiving about 24,000 doses of vaccine per week – more than half of which (14,000) allocated to the groups pre-registering. About 115,000 people have pre-registered for the vaccine so far, DCist reported.
Along with announcing that all residents will become eligible, the city extended its emergency declaration – and thereby extraordinary authority – until May 20.
Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser eased some restrictions on gatherings, including entertainment venues.
As of next Monday, restaurants will be permitted to sell alcohol until midnight, but indoor capacity will remain at 25 percent, with a maximum of 250 people. The restrictions will be reviewed in April, Bowser said.
The city on Monday expanded eligibility to court and legal services staff, frontline mass transit workers, U.S. Postal Service employees, and food service staff. It also includes essential workers who cannot “execute their job functions remotely/via telework and are required to report for duty in-person during the public health emergency.”
Next week, those eligible will include taxi, for-hire and ride-hailing drivers, logistics/delivery/courier workers, and those working in media and mass communication will be eligible. The vaccine is only for individual who have to report in-person and cannot do their jobs remotely.
Beginning April 12, employees of colleges, universities, trade schools, construction workers, IT workers, federal government workers, commercial and residential property managers will become eligible.
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