Director of DC Health, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, warned against potential vaccine scams in the area. (Screenshot)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s daily coronavirus updates have turned into general press conferences about the happenings in the nation’s capital, including the budget, crime, closures and inclement weather notices.  However, on Monday’s snow-day check-in, in updating about the thousands of COVID-19 vaccines in D.C., Bowser and Director of the District’s Department of Health Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, had to warn residents about potential vaccine scams.

“In order to be a COVID-19 vaccine provider in the District of Columbia, you must be vetted and approved by the District of Columbia Department of Health.  All vaccines that are provided for COVID-19 are authorized by the District of Columbia Department of Health and the only places that you can get a vaccine are through hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and doctors offices, and authorized onsite clinics, by an enrolled and approved provider,” Dr. Nesbitt said.

“There are no off-site sales of vaccines.  No one will have to purchase a vaccine for a price and have it administered by anyone who considers themselves a healthcare provider or otherwise,” the Department of Health Director further emphasized.

The warning came as part of the Mayor’s daily, weekday COVID-19 conference, which revealed multiple updates about the vaccine, including the number of doses delivered and administered in the nation’s capital, residents eligible for the vaccination and plans for the future.  According to the Feb. 1 update, 83,125 doses had been delivered, 62,219 were administered and, according to the Mayor, almost 11,000 more vaccines will be delivered and available starting next week. 

In this current phase of distributing doses, health care workers, members of the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, residents of long term and intermediate care facilities, residents 65 and older, homeless individuals, members of the Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia Public Schools teachers and school staff, Department of Corrections employees, operations personnel within the government, licensed childcare providers and teachers and staff working at independent schools in D.C., are all eligible to begin taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Further, in efforts to ensure the vaccine is distributed equitably and to close the disparity of those affected by the potentially fatal disease, Dr. Nesbitt said District leadership is prioritizing certain areas.

“The District has been focusing on our priority zip codes that are typically located in Wards 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 and last week we added an additional zip code, 20024 in Ward 6,” Nesbitt explained.

According to Dr. Nesbitt, reporting any vaccine fraud is another way of helping the District in its efforts towards equity.

“If you see these types of scams or are contacted and offered to purchase a vaccine, please report those scams to the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-4159.  We want to ensure that all of our residents have equitable access to vaccines in the District of Columbia, and would like to have all scams reported.”

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor