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Updated March 9, 2021

Northwest Neighbors Village is pleased to pass along new information we have learned about vaccine availability and updates to DC Health’s Coronavirus website.  Changes to the distribution plan are developing very quickly. Please know we share all the information we have available to us. It is unlikely that we will have more information to share.

We value your feedback and experiences and use it to help others. Please continue to update us on your successes or challenges at info@nnvdc.org.

Please remember, even if you have gotten both doses of the vaccine, the CDC advises the public to continue to wear a mask in public spaces, wash your hands, and practice safe social distancing.

  Vaccine Information through DC Health

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh sent out a very helpful guide to the new vaccine registration system. Here are some highlights:

Wednesday, March 10th, the District is launching a new vaccine registration portal that will enable residents to pre-register for a vaccine and receive direct notifications when it is time to schedule an appointment. Here's how the new system will work:

Pre-Registration Opens this Wednesday - Residents who are currently qualified for the vaccine will be able to pre-register for a vaccination appointment through vaccinate.dc.gov or through the call center at 1-855-363-0333.

  • In an effort to avoid further portal crashes, DC Health is only opening pre-registration to currently qualified residents (pre-registration will expand to other groups and age demographics in the future).
  • Please Note: This is not a first come, first served system. The system will use a randomization process among those in the registration pool, so the order in which someone registers does not affect the order in which someone will be invited to schedule an appointment.

Pre-Registration Includes - Submitting demographic information, occupation, medical history, COVID-19 history, and contact information to the website (vaccinate.dc.gov) or the call center (1-855-363-0333).

  • The call center hours are 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Wait to be Contacted - Based on the preferences indicated during the pre-registration process, residents will be called, texted, and/or emailed when it is their turn to make a vaccination appointment.

  • For its first week in operation, the system is going to notify selected residents on Friday, March 12th and Monday, March 15th.
  • Moving forward, the system will send notifications out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays by 10:00 am. If you sign up to receive a notifications by email, please remember to check your spam folder regularly.

Upon Being Selected - After receiving a notification that they have been selected, residents will have a 48-hour window to book an appointment. If someone should miss the scheduling window, he or she will be added back into the pool of registrants until selected by the system again.

  • The system will select a resident up to three times. If a resident doesn't respond to the notice after the third time, he or she will be removed from the system and will need to pre-register again.

This new system is designed to weigh individual risk factors, eligibility, and equity principles (for more detail, please click here). And it is important to remember that there are still tens of thousands of people within the eligible workforce, senior age bracket, and qualifying medical condition categories. Therefore, it is likely that those on the pre-registration list may wait days, weeks, and possibly months before being selected for an appointment. If you or someone you know would like assistance pre-registering in the new portal, please do not hesitate to contact Mary Cheh's office and they will help you through the process.

What to expect in the event of inclement weather:
 
In the event vaccination clinics are closed due to inclement weather, DC Health will reach out to individuals with an appointment and make accommodations. At this time, DC Health is unable to reschedule appointments for individuals who are not comfortable making it to their appointment due to inclement weather. To cancel an appointment, please refer to your vaccine appointment confirmation email.   
 
If you sign up for Alert DC, you can receive weather and traffic alerts from the city including vaccine site closures. Sign up for Alert DC here. You can also view current alerts without signing up by clicking here.

 

  Tips from your neighbors

We have collected the following tips from people who have gone through the process. Please let us know if you have any other hot tips to add!

Registration (This describes the old system - we will update this section when we know more about the new system):

  • Prepare in advance - Become familiar with the questions on the website and have the answers ready before you log on. You can download the step-by-step Vaccination Appointment Guide here
  • Email address - People who call in to get an appointment must still supply an email address to receive appointment confirmation. If you do not have a personal email address, plan to have handy the email address of someone you can trust who can provide a printed copy of the email to bring to the appointment.
  • Log on a few minutes early - Visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccinatedc a few minutes before 9:00 am.
  • Refresh - Hit the refresh button on the website at exactly 9:00 am.
  • Fields - Only fields with an asterisk (*) are required fields. Skipping questions without an asterisk can save time.
  • Choosing a location - Once you enter your information, you will see a list of available sites and the distance of those sites from your location. Choose your desired site and you will see the available appointments. Thanks to our partners at DC Villages, we have some anecdotal information to share about the experiences people have had at some of the vaccination sites. Click here to learn more.
  • If you select a location and there are no more appointments available, simply use the back arrow in your browser and select another location.  Keep doing this until you find a location with available appointments.
  • Couples - Couples cannot register together. You must register one individual and then start the process over again for the second person.
  • Confirmation - Once registered, you will get a confirmation email if registering online. Please print out this email for future reference. You will need it for your appointment.

Vaccination Site Information:

Thanks to our partners at DC Villages, we have some anecdotal information to share about the experiences people have had at some of the vaccination sites.  Click here to learn more.

Please note: DC Health has recently contracted with new providers, including Harris Teeter and Walmart. If you have recently visited a vaccination site not currently listed, please let us know your experience so we can keep the list up to date and help others.

What to do before you get your vaccine:  

  • On the day of your appointment, wear a shirt that allows for easy access to your arm. 
  • Wait times vary by site.  Some people have reported long lines outside. Dress for the weather and consider bringing either a folding chair or someone who can stand on line on your behalf.  
  • Reported side effects from the vaccine vary from slightly from sore arms to flu-like symptoms for a day or so. As a precaution, stock up on easy to prepare meals before your vaccine appointment and ask a loved one or NNV volunteer to check on you for a few days after you’ve received your first and second doses. Report any concerns to your medical provider.

Learn more about what to expect after getting the COVID shot here.

Second Dose Information:

According to DC Health, the appointment for your second dose will be confirmed at the pharmacy or provider location where you received your initial dose.  Before leaving your appointment, you will also be provided your vaccine record.

However, if your appointment was with Safeway, Safeway will provide instructions on how to schedule your second dose.  Safeway is providing the vaccine at three wellness sites – Lamond, Model Cities and Washington Wellness Center. If you have received your first vaccination at any of these locations, you will be provided a piece of paper with instructions on how to schedule your next appointment online, in addition to your vaccine record. Here are a few tips we’ve learned:

  • Third Party Website – Your second appointment will be made through a different website than your first. You’ll be directed to an Albertson’s website (Safeway is part of Albertson’s). Don’t be alarmed by this.
  • Three Locations – Each location, Lamond, Model Cities, and Washington Senior Wellness Center, have a different website to register for the second appointment. Be sure to double check the address for your second appointment to be sure you show up to the right location for your second dose.
  • Four Steps – There are a series of four steps to complete in order to schedule the appointment. Have your vaccine record handy, as you will be asked to provide the date of your first dose and the vaccine type (Pfizer or Moderna). You will also need to provide your contact information and confirm your preferred method of contact (text or email).
  • Not Tech Savvy? – Please mention this to the provider when you receive your first dose. They can provide guidance on how to schedule your second dose if you do not have a computer or don’t know how to register online. Note: Village volunteers are available to assist NNV members with scheduling your second appointment. To arrange volunteer support, please call the NNV office at 202-935-6060 or email info@nnvdc.org.

Reported side effects from the vaccine vary from slightly sore arms to flu-like symptoms for a day or so. As a precaution, stock up on easy to prepare meals before you receive your second dose appointment and ask a loved one or Northwest Neighbors Village volunteer to check on you for a few days after you’ve received your second dose. Doctors have suggested Tylenol to combat post-second shot discomfort. Check with your medical provider to see if this is right for you. 

Stay up-to-date!

  • Mayor’s Situational Update - Weekly update on important information impacting DC residents, including details about vaccine doses and distribution in DC 
  • DC Councilmembers share useful updates about COVID-19, the vaccine rollout and other information important to DC seniors.  We encourage you to sign up to receive updates from:
    • Councilmember Anita Bonds - DC At-Large Councilmember (Councilmember Bonds' website is currently under construction - we will add the link when it is available)
    • Councilmember ChehWard 3 Councilmember
    • Councilmember Lewis George – Ward 4 Councilmember

  Other Appointment Options

District hospitals have started outreach to schedule their patient population of DC residents 65 years and older.  Please visit the hospital website where you are a patient (seen by the hospital in an outpatient clinic within the last two years) for instructions on how to register for an available appointment. Like the District’s COVID-19 vaccination scheduling portal, hospital appointments are limited.  

Schedule a Hospital Appointment

Schedule a Health Center Appointment

District Health centers are also scheduling their patient population of DC residents 65 years and older. If you are a patient at one of the following health centers, please contact them to see if there is any schedule availability for appointments. Of note, allocations of vaccine are very limited.

Vaccine Registration Assistance

If you are having trouble getting registered for the vaccine, the EDCJCC has launched a partnership with the wonderful students at George Washington University Hillel to help older adults in DC, Virginia and Maryland get enrolled for vaccinations. 

 

  FAQ’s about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance after getting the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, washing your hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No.  COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

When should I get my second vaccine shot?
The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require 2 shots to get the most protection:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
  • Moderna doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

After I’m vaccinated, when do I get immunity and when can I travel?
Hear Dr. Fauci’s answer on CNN’s Global Town Hall by clicking here.

Northwest Neighbors Village   P.O. Box 39135   Washington, DC 20016
(202) 935-6060   info@nnvdc.org