CommunityHealth

D.C. Area Can’t Cover Health Care Workers in First Round of Vaccines

Though health care workers will undoubtedly be first priority regarding coronavirus vaccines in the Washington metropolitan region, public health officials and political leaders fear there won’t be enough doses for them in the early stages of distribution.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Committee on Immunization Practices voted Tuesday to give health care employees and residents of long-term care facilities the chance to be first in line to get vaccinated, but the federal government plans to roll out the first doses of vaccines based on population, not on how many health care workers are in a jurisdiction, WRC-TV (Channel 4) reported.

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, D.C.’s health director, voiced her concern that not enough vaccine doses will be available for health care workers who practice in the city at a Monday news conference.

Nesbitt noted many of the city’s health care workers live in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. She said the District will only get about 8,000 shots at first, far short of the estimated 80,000 needed.

Dr. Lillian Peake, Virginia’s epidemiologist, expressed similar concerns at a virtual hearing Monday before the state’s House Committee on Health Welfare and Institutions.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said his state expects to receive about 155,000 doses in the first stage.

“That’s a tiny fraction of what we need,” he said Monday. “It covers half of our front-line health care workers.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the first batch in his state could be approximately 70,000 doses, National Public Radio reported. Virginia has 380,000 medical practitioners, according to the state health department.

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