D.C. to begin offering vaccine appointments to all adults on April 12, ?earlier than planned?

On Thursday, D.C. Health officials said all residents in these priority groups had been offered appointments through the portal — allowing them to bump up the April 19 date yet again, “earlier than planned.”

“We encourage all DC residents to preregister for a vaccination appointment by visiting vaccinate.dc.gov or calling 1-855-363-0333,” the health department wrote in a statement. “Take the shot, D.C.”

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a coronavirus vaccine for adolescents, but Inova Health System is preparing to hold after school and weekend clinics to help administer shots to 12- to 15-year-olds in Northern Virginia when the time comes.

Pfizer last week announced its two-dose coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective for children as young as 12, and has asked the FDA to expand their emergency use authorization as soon as possible.

That could take weeks or months, and Virginia, Maryland and D.C. public health officials have yet to release guidance on how vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds would work, and whether certain groups would be prioritized.

J. Stephen Jones, a physician and the president and chief executive of Inova, said the hospital system will vaccinate children at Stonebridge, a large-scale clinic in the Victory Center on Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria, and at pediatric specialty practices. He said staff currently administering vaccines to those 16 and older could transition to adolescents without additional training.

“This is an important step to getting life getting back to normal,” he said in an interview, adding that infections among children have helped drive an increase in cases in places like Michigan.

Inova, which operates Northern Virginia’s largest hospital, has administered more than 300,000 doses and one quarter of all the shots given in Northern Virginia, according to the health system.

The District reported 170 new coronavirus cases Thursday and one new death, while Virginia reported 1,928 new cases and 21 deaths. Maryland reported 1,297 new cases and 21 deaths. The seven-day average of hospitalizations in Maryland continues to increase, with the number hitting 1,389 on Thursday — the highest it’s been since mid-February.

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