COVID-19 News & Updates
Update Apr 16
What's the Story About the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine?
There’s been a lot on the news this week regarding the U.S. pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, this is what we know right now:
The pause is being made out of an abundance of caution – of the nearly 7 million doses administered in the U.S., a small number of cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot have been reported. All reports occurred in women between the ages of 18 and 48, with symptoms occurring six to 13 days after vaccination.
The pause means that CDC and FDA recommend this vaccine not be given to anyone until we know more. This gives scientists a chance to review the data and decide if recommendations on who should get the vaccine need to change.
There have been no cases reported among people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Q What if you’ve gotten the J&J shot?
If you got this vaccine more than three weeks ago, your risk of developing a blood clot is very low.
If you got this vaccine within the last three weeks, your risk of developing a blood clot is also very low. However, you should be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a blood clot:
Pain in your abdomen (chest or stomach)
Leg pain or swelling
Shortness of breath
Seek immediate medical care if you have any of these symptoms and got the J&J vaccine within the last few weeks.
Q What if you have an appointment for the J&J shot?
If you have an appointment to get the J&J shot, work with your provider to reschedule your appointment to get the vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna. The DCHealth Vaccine Call Center number is 1-855-363-0333.
If you are interested in learning more about the J&J vaccine, check out this article from The New York Times and watch this interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Q Should you still get a COVID-19 vaccine?
If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, the CDC says the vaccines available are safe and effective, and recommends you get one as soon as you are eligible. Beginning Monday, April 19th, DC residents 65 and above will have the option to get the vaccine at a walk-up site. Click here to see where the walk-up sites are located. DC residents and workers 16 and up can visitcoronavirus.dc.gov/vaccine to pre-register for a vaccine.
Update Mar 12
Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People
This week on March 8, 2021, the CDC issued “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.” This guidance is the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people and will be updated as new data become available. Most importantly, the guidance stipulates that “people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson)”
The CDC guidance states that fully vaccinated people can:
Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
As the CDC guidance points out, “fully vaccinated people should continue to:
Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms”
he actual guidance contains additional detailed information. To read these details go to “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.” The following videos also describe the new CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people:
For those still seeking a vaccine, you can pre-register any time, any day by going online to vaccinate.dc.gov. You can also pre-register by calling the coronavirus call center at 1-855-363-0333. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 7pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 4pm.
If you are already vaccinated, the mayor asks you to reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors and talk to them about their plans to pre-register and get vaccinated.
Update Feb 26
Many people aged 65 and over have now received two doses of the vaccine. “Now what”? is probably the question on their mind. In answering that important question, you might keep the following points in mind:
Full vaccine effectiveness occurs two weeks after the second shot.
The two vaccines that have been given, Pfizer and Moderna, are up to 95% effective when you are fully immunized (meaning, two weeks after your second dose.) This means that there is a 5% chance that one can still suffer serious illness if one is infected with COVID19.
According to the CDC, “We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.” So, it is important to keep following the safety protocols: wear a mask over your mouth and nose; stay physically distant from others; avoid crows and poorly ventilated spaces; and wash your hands often.
What is Herd Immunity?
According to a Harvard report, herd immunity is estimated when 90% of the population is immune due to infection or vaccination. Once this threshold is reached, it’s difficult for the disease to spread. As the authors point out, “As of now, we are nowhere close to the numbers needed to achieve herd immunity.” So, it’s important that we all keep following the CDC safety guidelines.
Now that I'm Vaccinated, what can I do?
Want to know more about what someone that is vaccinated can do? Here’s an informative albeit long article from The Atlantic. The short version is perhaps best captured with this one quote from the article: “There is one principle—if not a black-and-white rule—that can help both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated navigate our once again unfamiliar world: When deciding what you can and can’t do, you should think less about your own vaccination status, and more about whether your neighbors, family, grocery clerks, delivery drivers, and friends are still vulnerable to the virus.” Therefore, it’s vitally important for each of us to continue following the CDC protocols outlined in the last bullet above.
When deciding what you can and can’t do, you should think less about your own vaccination status, and more about whether your neighbors, family, grocery clerks, delivery drivers, and friends are still vulnerable to the virus.”
Haven’t gotten the vaccine yet? Here’s what to do to prepare. Reported side effects from the vaccine vary from slightly from sore arms to flu-like symptoms for a day or so. As a precaution, stock up on easy to prepare meals before your vaccine appointment and ask a loved one or Cleveland & Woodley Park Village volunteer to check on you for a few days after you’ve received your first and second doses. You can learn more about what to expect after getting the COVID shot here.
Update Feb 19
Vaccine Availability and Eligibility Update - Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health announced that beginning on February 19th, individuals who work in four categories will become newly eligible to book vaccination appointments through vaccinate.dc.gov or by calling the District’s coronavirus Call Center:
individuals who work in a grocery store setting,
health and human services and social services outreach workers
individuals who work in manufacturing, and
individuals who work in food packaging (e.g. persons who work at Food & Friends and other similar facilities).
This means, many more DC employees are now eligible to receive the vaccine based on the work they perform, including employees, contractors, and volunteers who currently perform direct, in-person health or social services to residents in vulnerable, at-risk or special populations.
To register for the vaccine visit vaccinate.dc.gov or call 1-855-363-0333. For the best experience, please use a modern web browser such as Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. Internet Explorer will not work. Your computer should also be using the following operating system: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and above and iOS Leopard and above (Version 11).
Update Feb 12
Information on COVID Vaccine Side-Effects
What to expect after the second vaccine dose?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after receiving the COVID vaccine (either the Moderna or the Pfizer version) you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. If you’re wondering why the second dose tends to have more side effects, you’re not alone. Keith Norris, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA explains why this happens to some people. “After you get the first vaccination, your body is revving up the immune system and ready to fight COVID if it comes. Then you get the second vaccination, and your body thinks COVID is there, so it’s a greater response than you had the first time.”
Common side effects, when to expect them & what to do
According to the NY Times, “Side effects like fatigue, headaches and muscle pain should show up within one to three days after vaccination, and resolve one to three days after they start.” The CDC states that you may have pain on the arm where you got the shot, including pain and swelling. To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot, apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area. Also, use or exercise your arm.
Throughout the rest of your body, you may experience fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. To reduce discomfort from fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Also according to the NY Times, older people tended to report fewer side effects than younger people. They state that this is “probably because aging immune systems aren’t as strong. As people age, bodily defenses against pathogens weaken, and the response to vaccines also falters. But in the Pfizer and Covid vaccine trials, older people still produced adequate levels of antibodies, indicating a strong immune response after the vaccine. If you don’t have side effects after your shot, be glad you are one of the lucky ones and don’t worry.”
When to call the doctor
In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:
If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.
Update - Feb 5
COVID Vaccine Q & A
Now that some in our community have received a COVID19 vaccine, more questions arise! Below are some of the more common questions and answer from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
Do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance after getting the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, washing your hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.
Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
When should I get my second vaccine shot?
The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require 2 shots to get the most protection:
Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
Moderna doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart
You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.
After I’m vaccinated, when do I get immunity and when can I travel?
Hear Dr. Fauci’s answer on CNN’s Global Town Hall here.
Updates - Jan 22
The Village is pleased to pass along the following information about various options available for those 65 and older to request a vaccination appointment. We are unable to provide specific information about each site.
Each week DC will announce specific zip codes that can register for a specific number of appointments on Thursday. Then on Fridays, all zip codes in the city will be able to register for a smaller number of appointments. Please sign up to receive a text or email alert from the DC government about the availability of their appointments by clicking here.
If you've had another vaccination, such as for shingles, within the last 14 days, you will not be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Please keep this in mind before scheduling your appointment.
Appointment Registration Assistance:
The Edlavitch Jewish Community Center has launched a partnership with the students at George Washington University Hillel to help older adults in our communities (DC, Virginia and Maryland) get enrolled for vaccinations. If you need assistance/tech support in making an appointment, click here to sign up to receive assistance from a GW student.
The Village is also able to assist a limited number of people to make an appointment. Send an email to the Village (email@example.com) if you need assistance and we will pair you with a volunteer.
Three Ways to Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment:
1. Schedule an Appointment through the DC Website
Appointments can be made for various locations throughout the city by visiting the DC vaccine website on Thursday (for certain zip codes) or on Friday (for all zip codes.). There are a limited number of appointments based on the availability of the vaccine.
2. Schedule a Hospital Appointment
District hospitals have started outreach to schedule their patient population of DC residents 65 years and older. Please visit the hospital website where you are a patient (seen by the hospital in an outpatient clinic within the last two years) for instructions on how to register for an available appointment. Like the District’s COVID-19 vaccination scheduling portal, hospital appointments are limited.
3. Schedule a Health Center Appointment
District Health centers are also scheduling their patient population of DC residents 65 years and older. If you are a patient at one of the following health centers, please contact them to see if there is any schedule availability for appointments. Of note, allocations of vaccine are very limited.
Mary’s Center please call 844-796-2797
Community of Hope (Marie Reed) please call 202-540-9857
Community of Hope (Conway) please call 202-540-9857
Unity (Upper Cardoza) please visit eCW portal, website, or call 202-469-4699
Unity (Brentwood) please visit eCW portal, website, or call 202-469-4699
Bread for the City please call 202-386-7020
La Clinica del Pueblo please visit website
Elaine Ellis please call 202-803-2340
Providence Health System please visit website
Note: Kaiser Permanente members should visit kp.org/DCvaccine for the latest information on COVID vaccines.
Updates - Jan 15
Click here to read DC Villagers review DC COVID Vaccination Sites
Beginning at 9 am on Saturday, January 16, additional vaccination appointments will become available to residents of Wards 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 who are aged 65 and older and/or those who work in a health care setting. When appointments are available for Ward 3 residents, age 65 and over, we will alert you to register online at vaccinate.dc.gov or by calling 1-855-363-0333. If you don’t feel comfortable registering on your own, we suggest that you ask an available family member to assist you, due to the site asking for medical information. Of course, the Village is also here to assist those that need assistance.
A few pointers when you eventually register online:
Locate your identification card (such as a driver’s license), Medicare card, and/or insurance card for quick reference during the registration process. Despite asking for your insurance information, the COVID vaccine is free of charge.
Only fields with an asterisk (*) are required fields. For example, you must indicate what type of insurance you have, but the insurance numbers are not a required field so you can skip these questions without an asterisk, if you’d like.
Once you enter your information, you will see a list of available sites and the distance of those sites from your location. Choose your desired site and you will see the available appointments. (Note: if you'd like to see reviews of sites by other Villagers from across the city, go to our website at www.cwpv.org and it's the first article in our blog posts.)
If you select a location and there are no more appointments available, it may say that no appointments are available or it may give you a vague statement like “No records found.” To select an alternative site, simply use the back arrow in your browser and select another location. Keep doing this until you find a location with available appointments.
Because people from across the city are registering at the same time, it is possible to select a location and an appointment time, but when you try to book it, you will be told that the appointment is no longer available. This is because someone else booked it before you confirmed your appointment. You will need to select a new location and try again.
You will likely be asked to enter a “Captcha” which is a series of letters and numbers (such as, GiTj7L4). This is to ensure that you are a real person and not a scammer making the appointment. In the box below the Captcha, enter the letters and numbers exactly as they appear. Capitalization matters so be sure that you do not have your caps lock on.
Couples cannot register together. You must register one individual and then start the process over again for the second person.
Once registered, you will get a confirmation email if registering online. Please print out this email for future reference.
Regarding other providers:
Sibley Memorial Hospital patients will receive notification via their Johns Hopkins Medicine MyChart account when they are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Veterans will be notified of available appointments directly from the Veterans Administration
Those of you who participate in Kaiser health, and One Medical have probably already received notifications from those practices about their plans to administer vaccines.
GW Hospital is scheduling anyone who has a doctor associated with the hospital or The GW Medical Faculty Associations at COVID-19 Update | George Washington University Hospital (gwhospital.com)
Updates - Jan 8
It's time: DC residents 65 and older to register for vaccine
Registration opens Monday at Noon.
Following CDC guidelines, the DC government is administering the vaccine in phases and will soon implement phase 1b/1c which includes residents 65 and older, those living in intermediate care facilities and group homes, and residents with high-risk medical conditions. Residents 65+ can register online on Monday, January 11th at noon at vaccinate.dc.gov
DC Health recommends signing up registering at vaccinate.dc.gov, even if you previously completed the vaccination questionnaire for the registry last week.
The vaccine will be given at local pharmacies and possibly other facilities, such as senior and recreation centers. When you complete the online form you will be given options on where to get vaccinated from several available sites throughout the city. Once you select your preferred site, you may select an appointment time. Finally, you will receive an email confirming your appointment place and time. The vaccine is not available at physicians offices at this time.
We are available to assist.
If you want the vaccine you should register. If you need assistance, ask a family member who is familiar with your personal medical information to assist you. Of course, the Village is also here to help those that need assistance. For those who need help, please call the Village office on Monday at 202-615-5853. A volunteer or staff member will fill out the form on your behalf while you are on the phone with them.
Interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccines? On January 14th at 11:00 am, Northwest Neighbors Village will host an informative program on “Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccines”. Ruth Karron, M.D., Director of the Center for Immunization Research and the Johns Hopkins Vaccine Initiative will provide a brief overview and answer your questions. You won't want to miss this interactive program! Click here to register.
COVID-19 Informational Updates - Dec 31
Vaccine Registration Information
The District has launched a website to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can click here to get to the site.
Once on the site:
1. scroll to the bottom to the blue link that says: "Proceed to COVID-19 Questionnaire"
2. Click the link and enter your information.
Just above that link, the site now says, "Please Note: This system is currently open only for healthcare providers. You MUST provide verification of your eligibility at the time of your vaccination." Despite this warning, if you click the blue link to "Proceed to COVID-19 questionnaire" the first question that you will be asked after typing in a code is if you are a healthcare professional. If you select "No", you can still proceed to enter your information.
3. You will receive an email that your group is not currently being vaccinated, but you will be notified when you are to be scheduled. There is no harm in registering early.
Updated Vaccine Prioritization
DC Heath has updated the COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Guidance. Previously, Phase 1B included all individuals 65 and older. In the updated guidance, Phase 1B is limited to "DC residents who are 75 years and older and District of Columbia residents in Intermediate Care Facilities, Group Homes, or other higher risk congregate settings." Phase 1C is includes DC residents "who are 65 years and older and residents with high risk medical conditions."
Quick COVID Resources
Use these links to get access to information and facts about COVID-19
Beware of COVID Scams
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, several scams have arisen that are targeted toward virus-related fears, particularly among older Americans:
Text scams might falsely advertise a cure or fake tests. For more information and to read example scam text messages, click here.
Robocalls have focus on health and financial concerns related to COVID-19. To learn more and listen to examples of scam calls, click here.
Contact tracing scams. Click here to learn more about contact tracing and how to avoid these scams.
Tips for avoiding COVID-19 Scams
Ignore calls or texts from unknown or suspicious numbers
Never give anyone your financial or personal information via e-mail, text messages, or over the phone.
Recognize warning signs: hang up the phone if you're being pressured to share any information or make an immediate payment.
Do not click on links you receive via text message. If a friend messages you with a link that seems suspicious or out of character, call them to see if they've been hacked.
Always research a charity before donating. You can do this by calling them or visiting their website. Click here to learn more about charity scams.
For other resources, CLICK HERE.