WASHINGTON — The latest change in D.C.'s COVID vaccination efforts could make it easier than ever to get the shot.
Starting this morning, roughly ten walk-up mass vaccination sites opened across the District. No appointments are required at any of them. Any D.C. resident 18-year-old or older is eligible to get the vaccine.
Arena Stage in Southwest D.C. is home to one of these new sites.
A small line gathered there before the doors opened at 8:00 A.M.
The new walk-up approach means many will no longer need to use the sometimes-cumbersome online registration portal to secure a vaccination appointment.
Patrick Ashley, a senior deputy at D.C. Health, says city leaders hope this change makes it easier for people to get the shot and boosts turnout at sites across the District.
"I think getting one shot in an arm is a success but if we get several thousand vaccines or more it'd be a great day for us," he said.
Today, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines were available at various walk-up sites. For the rest of the month, D. Health plans to only use Moderna and Pfizer at the walk-up mass vaccination sites, though Ashley says that could change "as supply moves around."
Anybody who gets a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at a walk-up site will still be able to make an appointment to get the second dose.
A full list of all walk-up site locations, the version of the vaccine they carry, and their hours of operation can be found here.
Ashley also notes that dozens of other vaccine sites exist across the city besides the new walk-up mass vaccination sites. Many can be found at clinics, pharmacies, and doctor's offices. Some of these sites still require appointments. Ashley says you can check out the protocols at those sites before you visit at this website.
Southwest D.C. resident Gilberta Grimball was in line outside Arena Stage early this morning waiting to get her shot.
She admitted she had a few hesitations about getting the vaccine, but said the benefits far outweighed her concerns.
"It saves lives, so it's something that everyone needs to do," she said. "That simple."
Francesca Leme had some hesitations too. Hers mostly centered on her pregnancy. But after conversations with her doctors and some soul searching, she decided she was ready to get the vaccine.
"I feel good about it," said Leme. "Something just switched in me and I'm like 'you know what, I'm coming this morning. I'm going to do it.'"