From Councilmember Allen:
Hey folks, I wanted to provide an update on vaccines heading into this week’s releases.
There are a number of updates based on feedback we’ve heard and talked through with DC Department of Health and other agencies.
First, at my request, Southwest’s 20024 zip code has been added to the equity and priority appointments available Thursday mornings at 9 am. I made this request recognizing even within our Southwest neighborhood there is a tremendous disparity in accessibility to reserve a vaccine and who is being harmed by the novel coronavirus. If you live in 20024 (or 20001 and 20002) and are an eligible health care worker or 65 or older, you can log on to the portal tomorrow morning (vaccinate.dc.gov or call 855-363-0333) and request an appointment while they are available.
On Friday, the Department of Health will release more appointments for all eligible groups (health care workers + DC residents 65 and older). At 9 am log on to the portal vaccinate.dc.gov or call 855-363-0333).
On both days, there will only be 1,745 appointments available. The biggest challenge we are facing continues to be a shortage of vaccine and we will need to have patience to understand this will improve over time, but it is a challenge now. Thankfully the Biden administration has committed to a 15% increase in vaccines available to DC residents in the next few weeks. Please do not try to sign up for an appointment if you are not currently eligible.
Two quick updates on the process of signing up:
First, just today DC Health committed to getting a vaccine wait list up and running. It won’t be ready tomorrow, but I wanted to share that good news and I will provide more information when it’s ready. This should help to change the dynamic that is forcing our seniors right now to battle each week for limited availability and being available right at 9 am in order to hope to secure an appointment, so I fully support this and look forward to it being implemented in the coming weeks.
Second, you can expect the vaccine portal to have some improvements tomorrow. I worked with the District’s Chief Technology Officer to share some of the major areas where I heard residents having a hard time using the website. Here are some improvements that have been made:
Improvements going into effect tomorrow, January 28, include:
- Enhanced vaccination site management: the website will automatically hide vaccination sites where all appointments are booked; previously, this was manually performed and would lead to the public seeing sites without available appointments
- Streamlined process: the removal of questions regarding insurance information will further streamline the process of booking an appointment
- Site navigation improvements: updated help text and easier to understand buttons will make the website easier to navigate
- Additional confirmation options: users will now have the option to print a confirmation page in lieu of showing an email
Improvements made to vaccinate.dc.gov after January 13 include:
- Removal of CAPTCHA during the booking process: the only remaining CAPTCHA (with enhanced performance) is during the initial screening and is required to secure the site
- Increased site resources: the site was moved to better infrastructure to support the numbers of users clicking on the site at one time and to increase the speed of confirmation email delivery
- Removal of the “change booking” capability: this functionality was removed since new appointments could not be guaranteed and the user did not know if other appointments were available until having already canceled their appointment
Thanks, as always, to every Ward 6 resident who has shared feedback, concerns, or positive news with me and my team as we work to make the whole process work better. I know we’re all ready to move past this pandemic, but we aren’t there yet. Keep wearing your mask(s) and keep physical distancing and limiting your risk. We are making progress, even though I know right now in the hard days of winter it might not always feel like it.
Talk to you soon,