District residents took advantage of the suspension of the pre-registration coronavirus vaccine program and turned out in large numbers on May 1 to be vaccinated in the city government’s Day of Action walk-up sites.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the program last week in the effort to get residents vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition to residents being inoculated at walk-up sites, volunteers fanned out throughout District neighborhoods to encourage vaccination.

The Day of Action occurred as the D.C. Department of Health reported on its coronavirus website that 490,911 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the city and 20.2 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, as of May 1.

Since the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine arrived in the District in December, the city government has inoculated its residents and workers in phases. However, with President Biden issuing a mandate last month everyone in the country ages 16 and older eligible to get a vaccine, District officials are pushing programs like the Day of Action to get as many people as possible immunized.

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center

The Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Northeast served as one of the vaccination sites, administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Ryan Atkins went there for his vaccination.

“I came here to get my Johnson & Johnson vaccination shot,” Atkins said. “I have heard about the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with blood clots but there are side effects to almost all drugs. I am getting this shot for the betterment of myself and the community. I praise Mayor Bowser and the city for putting this together.”

Atkins joined a steady stream of people in the vaccination process queuing up to register with volunteers at a table in the southeast section of the gym, get a number, then sit in chairs arrayed at midcourt waiting to by a medical professional who reviewed their paperwork and vaccinated them.

Afterward, they sat for a federally mandated 15 minutes of observation to be monitored for immediate side effects in the northern section of the gym. After the observation period ended, they exited the facility.

Lynn Dorsey came to Turkey Thicket to be vaccinated because of an email she received from the District government about the walk-up event. Living two blocks west of the facility, she scheduled time Saturday to be jabbed.

“It is in my neighborhood,” Dorsey said. “When I initially registered to be vaccinated a few months ago, I received a government email that told me to go to Southeast. But my neighbor across the street from me, who happens to be white, was told to go to Georgetown. That didn’t make sense to me.”

Dorsey said it made more sense to her to come to the Turkey Thicket walk-up event than go to Southeast. She said getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine didn’t bother her, either.

“I have heard about the blood clots,” she said. “I know the process to create the vaccine happened quickly and swiftly, but there are side effects to most drugs. I know this shot is not a cure-all. We will probably have to get this shot yearly to fight COVID.”

For some residents, getting inoculated became a family affair. Eleanor Davis, 96, received her shot with the assistance of her son, Vernon Davis, and Chontell Davis, her granddaughter.

Chontell Davis said the family decided to get vaccinated together.

“It is the right thing to do to fight COVID,” she said. “I am pleased with the way the process went. It was very simple.”

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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