Vaccine priorities: How DC, Md., Va. will handle distribution

Vaccine priorities: How DC, Md., Va. will handle distribution

D.C., Maryland and Virginia will receive shipments of their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine by mid-December, and they have plans for who gets the vaccine when it arrives.

The deadline for U.S. states to draft plans for who will get the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine once it becomes available is Friday, and with coronavirus cases surging, officials around the region have revealed their plans.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia will receive shipments of their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine by mid-December, and they have plans for who gets the vaccine when it arrives.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


The District will get 6,800 Pfizer doses, which will first be distributed to health care workers.

But the city’s health care workforce is more than 80,000, so the allotment would cover less than 10% of that workforce. The federal government allotted vaccine doses by residential population, but most of D.C.’s health care workers don’t live in the city itself.

“Approximately 75% of our more than 80,000 health care workers are residents of Maryland and Virginia and not the District,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “So, we will keep pushing on to get the resources that we need.”

On Thursday, Bowser sent a letter to the Operation Warp Speed team, asking that they reconsider D.C.’s vaccine allotment by taking into account the workforce population rather than the residential population.


Maryland will receive 150,000 doses in its first distribution of the Pfizer vaccine.

The plan, released by Gov. Larry Hogan, says that those doses will go to health care workers and employees at nursing homes.

Those 150,000 doses that they receive in mid-December will only cover half of the state’s health care workers, according to Hogan.

Phase One of the vaccination distribution will cover front-line responders and health care workers caring for COVID-19 patients. Staff and residents of nursing homes and essential workers, such as those in public safety and education, fall into the Phase One plan as well.

Phase Two of vaccine distribution will go to the general public. Health officials said that the state will likely begin vaccinating the general public this spring.


In an update Friday, Virginia said it was getting ready to receive an estimated total of 480,000 doses of vaccine from both Pfizer and Moderna by the end of the month.

This estimate is based on new information from Operation Warp Speed on Thursday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Priority will be given to essential workers and those with health conditions that would put them at greater risk. Health care workers and residents of long-term care homes will be vaccinated first.

State epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peake said that there are about 500,000 people who fit the description for the first phase.

The 480,000 doses is estimated for the month of December. “Subsequent weekly shipments are expected to begin after the initial shipment” and will continue to be for health care workers and long-term care facility residents, the health department said.

CVS and Walgreens teams will help with the vaccinations of long-term care residents.

The first shipment of Pfizer vaccines is expected for mid-December; more than 70,000 initial doses will be distributed to health care workers, with those caring for COVID-19 patients receiving top priority.

“The actual amount of vaccine received in Virginia is a moving target and dependent on when and how quickly vaccination doses are manufactured,” the health department said.

“We fully expect to have enough vaccine for everybody,” Gov. Ralph Northam said during a news conference earlier this week, “but it will take time.”

Northam predicted that all Virginians would be able to get the vaccine around late spring or early summer.

Gist Vile’s Teta Alim and Kristi King contributed to this report.

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