WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Frontline health care workers spent months battling the coronavirus pandemic. Now, they've been amongst the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, depending on where you live determines who and when will get the vaccine next.
A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health said the next group on the state’s vaccination rollout timeline will be residents and staff at long-term care facilities. The VDH spokesperson said she expects they should begin receiving vaccinations the week of Dec. 28. The spokesperson also said the state is on schedule with its COVID-19 vaccination plan.
In Maryland, a spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Health said the state is currently focusing on the first phase of vaccinations, but making plans for what’s to come.
“For nursing homes, state health officials have signed up every nursing home and assisted living facility in Maryland for the federal pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens, which will set up clinics to begin in the next two weeks," an MDH spokesperson said. "At this time, we are concentrating all of our efforts in vaccinating those individuals in phase 1a."
In a press conference Thursday, DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said D.C. will be getting additional vaccines from Maryland and Virginia. Once that happens she said the District will be able to activate a long-term care partnership to begin vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care facilities. She said it will take about two weeks for vaccinations to begin.
As for when the general public could expect to get a vaccine, Dr. Mona Gahunia, an infectious disease physician with Kaiser Permanente, said that will hopefully happen in the spring.
“We're hoping by April or May,” Gahunia said. “There's so many factors that play into that, but we're certainly hoping and we're all waiting for that. So I think if we had ample supply we wouldn't have to necessarily do a phased approach.”
Gahunia said even though the vaccine is expected to be widely available, the return to normal will not happen as fast.
“It's still going to take a while for people to get vaccinated even when the supply is there," she said. "So the return to normal will probably take longer than that closer to the end of the year and into 2022."
After only a few days of having a vaccine available locally, Gahunia said she's seen testimonials from frontline workers being shared. Across social media, the hashtag #IGotTheShot has been trending.
“I know that I've seen some of the great footage of people receiving their vaccine and the great testimonials and the hope and excitement," Gahunia said.