Washington, D.C does not enjoy the status of a state and that fact left the nation’s capital short changed yet again when the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package was passed in March. Washington, D.C., was classified as a territory — a distinction that cost it $700 million in funding.
The issue was highlighted yet again as a confusion over FDA requirements left many states with a Covid-19 vaccine shortage. D.C. health officials have complained for weeks that the initial allotment formula followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided Washington with just under 7,000 doses — less than one-tenth of what would be needed for local health care workers.
As the shortfall hit, the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia pitched in with 8,000 vaccines each for the capital. The donations have more than tripled the amount available for health care workers in the nation’s capital.
The dosage allotments were based on population, but many of Washington’s health care workers live in the intertwined neighboring communities of Maryland and northern Virginia. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser raised the issue with the U.S. health officials in a letter claiming the “one-size-fits-all formula for distribution” would prove “woefully insufficient.”
The problem was recognized by the neighboring states. Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Ralph Northam of Virginia seem to be on board with DC’s aggravation as they approved the allocation of 8,000 vaccines each.
“Thousands of nurses and doctors live in northern Virginia but work in the District — and they deserve equal access to the vaccine,” Northam said. “It’s the right thing to do for Virginians and for our region.”
Maryland has so far received 191,075 total doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines so far – a number deemed to be insufficient for the state’s frontline health care workers.
The current gesture of vaccine donations however is another indication of the close informal partnership Bowser, Northam and Hogan have pursued for the DMV region since the early days of the pandemic. While Washington has been more cautious than its neighbors on its reopening restrictions, the two governors have allowed the counties closest to Washington to pursue their own virus shutdown policies closer to those of the capital.
Mayor Bowser took to twitter to thank both the governors. She tweeted:
“I thank Gov. Larry Hogan and Governor VA ( Ralph Northam) for providing supplemental COVID-19 vaccines to support DC health care workers living in Maryland or Virginia.
We will work together with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Maryland Health Department to ensure the safety of our frontline heroes.”