COVID Vaccine Information For District Of Columbia Residents

COVID Vaccine Information for District of Columbia Residents

Updated February 23, 2021

Although the District of Columbia has announced a move into Phase 1b, vaccines are in extremely short supply for all vaccine administrators across the country, including Kaiser Permanente. [Click here to read our frequently asked questions, or scroll to the bottom of this page.]

We are organized and prepared to administer the vaccine as we receive supply. Each week, we receive a small fraction of the vaccine required to meet our members’ needs. Our ability to expand and speed vaccine distribution depends on vaccine supply made available to the District of Columbia and then how much of that supply the District of Columbia allocates to us. We’re doing all we can to get additional vaccine supply as soon as possible.

Consistent with the District of Columbia recommendations and due to the vaccine supply shortage, we’re currently continuing to vaccinate the following priority groups:  

  • Those who qualify in Phase 1a
  • Our oldest patients

We anticipate vaccine supply to increase over the coming weeks — but vaccine supply and eligibility may vary across counties and cities. We’ll keep you updated on vaccine eligibility and availability. 

We want you to get vaccinated as soon as possible and are doing all we can to make that happen. Keep in mind there may be other places you can get vaccinated besides Kaiser Permanente, such as your employer, local department of health or some other place. If that opportunity is available to you, we encourage you to take it. If you are charged for the vaccine, we will reimburse you. Please note you will need to get your second dose of the vaccine at the same location where you receive your first dose. 

If you live in one state and work in a different state:
To understand when you qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine based on your job (such as if you’re an essential worker), please look at the phases for the state where you work. To understand when you qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine based on your age or health conditions, look at the phases for the state where you live.

Below is detailed information on how the District of Columbia is defining the phases of COVID-19 vaccination. 

What phase is the District of Columbia currently in?

CURRENT PHASE: The District of Columbia has begun Phase 1b, Tier 2.

Phase 1a (in progress*)

Who qualifies?

  • Long-term-care residents
  • Healthcare personnel (including veterinary medicine)
  • Fire and emergency medical personnel
  • Frontline public-health workers

Phase 1b, Tier 1 (in progress*)

Who qualifies?

  • DC residents age 65 and older
  • Correctional Officers
  • Those who live or work in congregate settings (intermediate care facilities, community residential facilities, group homes, homeless shelters). Non-healthcare personnel supporting operations of COVID-19 vaccination clinics

Phase 1b, Tier 2 (in progress*)

Who qualifies?

  • Correctional facilities and Detention Centers
  • Law Enforcement/Public Safety
  • All staff working in K-12 education facilities
  • All staff working in child care facilities
  • All staff working in grocery stores

* Though the District of Columbia has initiated these phases, we have not received enough vaccine to administer doses to everyone in each phase at this time. As supply allows, we are vaccinating people in Phase 1a and our oldest patients.

LATER PHASES

Phase 1b, Tier 3

Who qualifies?

  • Staff working in Courts and individuals providing legal services
  • Individuals working in health, human services and/or social services outreach programs
  • Frontline employees of public (mass) transit
  • Individuals employed in manufacturing
  • Individuals working in food packaging and distribution
  • Employees in US Postal Service

Phase 1c, Tier 1

Who qualifies?

  • DC residents age 16-64 years and older with a chronic medical condition
  • Staff working in food service
  • Essential employees in local government agencies
  • Essential employees of public utilities
  • Essential employees in non-governmental health, human, and social services organizations/agencies
  • Individuals working in commercial and residential property maintenance and environmental services

Phase 1c, Tier 2

Who qualifies?

  • Individuals working in non-public transit transportation services (i.e., for-hire vehicles, ride share)
  • Individuals working in logistics/delivery/courier services
  • Essential employees working in media and mass communications

Phase 1c, Tier 3

Who qualifies?

  • All essential employees of institutes of higher education
  • Individuals working in construction
  • All essential employees working in information technology
  • Essential employees in federal government agencies
  • Individuals working in commercial and residential property management

Phase 2

Who qualifies?
The following groups qualify for phase 2:

  • All DC residents age 16 and older not included in previous phase

For more information on each phase, click here. 


For Kaiser Permanente members – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get updates on when I can get the vaccine? Should I call or email my doctor’s office or member services?  

Answer: We know our patients have many questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The best way for you to stay up to date on the vaccine is to visit this page often. We kindly ask that you do not email your doctor for information about vaccine appointments. We will reach out to you to set up an appointment when you qualify and we have enough supply from the state.

After I get added to the wait list, how long will it take to be called to get my vaccine? 

Answer: It is our goal to get you vaccinated as soon as possible but we are dependent on how much of the vaccine is allocated to us. At this time, supplies are limited so we are not able to give an estimate. Be assured we will contact you as soon as we have sufficient supplies. 

I want to see what my doctor thinks about me receiving the vaccine. 

Answer: Our physicians strongly recommend that all adults receive the vaccine as soon as they qualify, and vaccine supply allows.

If you have a history of allergies, our doctors still recommend you get the vaccine. If you have a history of severe allergic reaction to prior non-COVID-19 immunization or anaphylactic food allergy, our physicians recommend staying for observation 30 minutes after you receive the injection. We urge all adults to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they qualify, and supply is available.  

To learn more about allergies and the COVID vaccine, please click here.The CDC also offers some great information about the COVID vaccinehere. 

I’m over the age of 65 and a Kaiser Permanente member. Nobody has contacted me about the vaccine. What should I do?

Answer: We have you on our list of patients who currently qualify to receive the vaccine. We will contact you to schedule a vaccine appointment as soon as supplies allow. We request that you wait to hear from your health care team. Following this process will allow us to schedule qualified patients as quickly as possible. 

I currently qualify to receive the vaccine, based on the type of work I do or my age, but I haven’t been vaccinated yet. How can I get vaccinated?

Answer: If you qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit kp.org and complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest questionnaire. After logging in, scroll down to “COVID-19 Vaccine Interest” and complete the questionnaire. You must be a kp.org registered user to fill out this form. Once you complete this questionnaire, you will be added to the appropriate wait list for your phase.

Vaccine supply is extremely limited. As soon as the state supplies us with enough vaccine to vaccinate you, we will send you a secure message with a link to schedule your vaccine appointment. Please check your kp.org messages frequently.

I’ve been offered a vaccine elsewhere. Should I take it, or should I wait to be vaccinated by Kaiser Permanente?

Answer: We encourage you to get vaccinated the first opportunity you get. If your employer, local health department or other vaccinator offers you an opportunity to get the shot, please do so. Please note: You will need to receive the second dose of the vaccine at the same place you received the first.

Are there are places in the District of Columbia besides Kaiser Permanente where I may be able to get vaccinated (once I’m qualify)?

Answer: Yes, there are additional vaccination sites outside of Kaiser Permanente. Visit dchealth.dc.gov for more information about the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in the District of Columbia. Click on the “COVID-19 Vaccine” section to learn more. The site also has a list of the Hospitals and Heath Centers offering COVID-19 vaccines. You do not need to contact the Department of Health before getting a vaccine through Kaiser Permanente.  

If I receive my COVID-19 vaccine outside Kaiser Permanente, how do I update my medical record?

Answer: Log on to kp.org, click on the “Medical Record,” and then select the “Questionnaires” option. Then click on the questionnaire titled “COVID-19 Immunizations Outside of Kaiser Permanente” and fill out all required fields.

I don’t yet qualify for the vaccine but would like to get on a wait list. What should I do?

Answer: Please fill out the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest questionnaire on kp.org. You will need to be a registered member of kp.org to do this. Once you complete this questionnaire, you will be added to our list of patients interested in receiving the vaccine. As soon as you qualify for the vaccine and the state supplies us with enough vaccine to vaccinate you, we will send you a secure message with a link to schedule your appointment.

Can I find out where I am on the wait list?

Answer: No. At this time, vaccine supply is limited and unpredictable. Until we have a predictable vaccine supply, we can’t accurately estimate wait times.

What happens once it’s my turn to receive the vaccine (both when I qualify, and you have the supply to vaccinate me)?

Answer: Once you qualify for the vaccine, and we have enough supply, we will reach out to you to schedule a vaccination appointment. The fastest way for us to contact you is by sending you a secure email through kp.org. If you are a registered kp.org member, that will be the first way we contact you. If you are not registered on kp.org or if you do not open the secure message, we send you through kp.org, we will call you. If we cannot reach you by kp.org or phone, we will send you a letter.

If you are not registered on kp.org, please register today so we can quickly contact you.

Should pregnant women get the vaccine

Answer: It’s an important question to ask because we want to do everything we can to keep pregnant women and their babies safe and avoid anything that could harm mom and baby. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider pregnant women among the list of people who may be at increased risk for severe illness if they develop COVID-19. This was based on data showing they are likelier than nonpregnant women to be hospitalized, admitted to intensive care units, and receive mechanical ventilation. There is also data suggesting that there may be an increased risk of preterm labor. While the COVID vaccines have not been tested in pregnant women, based on the way they work and because they are not live vaccines, they are expected to be safe and effective. Your personal risk of infection based on your occupation or other medical conditions should also be considered in decision-making. If you are unsure about whether to get vaccinated, a conversation with your clinician may help. More information about the COVID vaccine and pregnancy can be found here on the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology website. You can also read more about the COVID-19 and pregnancy here

Why can’t my spouse, who qualifies by the age on the news, get the vaccine, when I do? 

Answer: We are working hard to get as many of our oldest patients vaccinated as quickly and equitably as possible, so our working through our list of qualified patients from oldest to youngest. Even a difference of just a few weeks in age will mean different appointment slots. We are working hard to get all our patients vaccinated as soon as possible. 

Can I walk into a Kaiser Permanente medical center without an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Answer: No. COVID-19 vaccines can only be given to those with an appointment.

When will all Kaiser Permanente locations start having vaccine? 

Answer: We are currently determining which of our locations will offer the vaccine as supplies increase. 

What is the cost of the vaccine?

Answer: The vaccine is offered at no cost, regardless of where you are vaccinated. If you receive the vaccine outside of Kaiser Permanente, the outside provider may bill Kaiser Permanente; if they do, we will reimburse them. 

Can I request a specific vaccine?

Answer: No. Due to limited supply, there won’t be an opportunity to choose among available vaccines. Fortunately, both vaccines approved for use in the United States use the same technology and demonstrated similar effectiveness in clinical trials, with vaccine recipients reporting similar side effects, which are generally mild and temporary.

What are the differences between the two vaccines? 

Answer: The two vaccines currently approved for use were developed using the same technology and demonstrated similar effectiveness in clinical trials. Both showed similar mild side effects in clinical trials.   

Is Moderna better than Pfizer for protecting against variant strains of COVID-19? 

Answer: The CDC and other experts in infectious diseases are monitoring the emerging variant COVID-19 strains closely. Both mRNA vaccines –Moderna and Pfizer – are designed to produce an immune response in the body that target several parts of the virus’ spike protein. 

If I had the COVID-19 virus, how soon after, can I receive the vaccine? 

Answer: You can receive the vaccine once your symptoms have resolved and quarantine has ended. 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. 

I just got my flu shot, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine now?

Answer: You cannot receive any vaccine, including the flu shot, in the two weeks before your scheduled COVID-19 vaccine. If you have, please let us know and we will reschedule your appointment. You also need to wait two weeks after your COVID-19 vaccination to receive any additional vaccines.

If I miss my second dose, do I need to start over? 

Answer: Currently the CDC recommends that if you miss the second dose you return as quickly as possible to get that 2nd dose. There is no need to start the series over.   

Will the COVID-19 vaccines protect against variant strains of the virus?  

Answer: That’s still unknown. According to the CDC, information about the characteristics of these variants is rapidly emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they might spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them. Currently, there is no evidence that these variants, in general, cause more severe illness or increased risk of death.  

Both mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, are designed to produce an immune response in the body that target several parts of the virus’ spike protein. The virus would likely need to produce several mutations in the spike protein to overcome the immunity produced by either mRNA vaccine. 

Kaiser Permanente is continuing to strictly follow CDC guidelines to help keep patients, physicians, and employees safe while our researchers and physician experts in infectious diseases work closely with public health officials to better understand new strains of the virus. 

How long will the vaccines provide protection from COVID-19 infection? Will it be longer than the natural immunity that comes from contracting COVID-19? 

Answer: The protection someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Since this virus is new, we don’t know how long natural immunity might last.  

Regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, experts won’t know how long immunity lasts until there is more data on how well the vaccine works.   

Answer: COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness or putting yourself and others at risk of severe illness and death. 

Will I need a booster dose after I receive my second shot? 

Answer: The need for and timing of booster doses for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines has not been established. No additional doses beyond the two-dose primary series are recommended at this time. 

For people not covered by Kaiser Permanente insurance:

I am not covered by Kaiser Permanente insurance, but I would like to come to a Kaiser Permanente medical center to be vaccinated. Can I?
Answer: It depends. Please call your local health department to learn which sites are available for you to get the vaccine. You can also go to dchealth.dc.govfor information about the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in the District of Columbia. Click on the “COVID-19 Vaccine” section to learn more. You can sign up for text and email alerts about the roll out plan. The site also has a list of the Hospitals and Health Centers offering COVID-19 vaccines.

More COVID-19 vaccination resources: 

COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines: Pfizer and Moderna

What you need to know to prepare for and expect when you get your COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine: facts and myths 

The impact of the COVID-19 vaccines on your health 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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