FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Metro D.C. DSA-Led Coalition Launches Campaign to Preregister Residents for the COVID-19 Vaccine
DATE: Thursday, April 11, 2021
PRESS CONTACT: If you would like to get in touch with the organizers or receive more information about the vaccine outreach campaign, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON, DC:In response to the persistent and egregious racial and economic inequities in COVID-19 vaccination rates across the district, organizers with the Metro D.C. DSA Medicare for All working group have launched a months long campaign to contact D.C. residents through weekly phone banking, door-to-door canvassing, and tabling in high-traffic areas. They have been supported in these efforts by Working Families Party D.C., Ward 4 Mutual Aid, and Sunrise Movement D.C., as well as Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George who canvassed with MDC DSA on March 25.
The vaccine outreach campaign aims to assist seniors and marginalized communities in securing vaccine appointments on the D.C. Health portal through both vaccine education and direct assistance with preregistration. Following criticism of its initial live registration efforts, which were plagued by numerous technological failures and accessibility concerns, the Bowser administration launched a virtual preregistration system on March 10. To date, however, the web portal is only available in English with a Google translation widget, posing a significant barrier to non-English speakers. MDC DSA volunteers have prioritized language access in their outreach efforts, offering translated materials and a hotline specifically to assist Spanish and Amharic speakers with preregistration.
In addition to language access concerns, there remains a significant digital divide among D.C. seniors, who are more likely to have unreliable internet access or struggle to navigate online registration platforms. Currently, only 51 percent of senior citizens in Ward 4 have been partially or fully vaccinated, compared with 59 percent of seniors in the affluent and majority-white Ward 3. The disparity is even more pronounced east of the Anacostia River, with senior vaccination rates of 38 percent and 37 percent in Wards 7 and 8, respectively.
On April 10, MDC DSA partnered with Sunrise Movement D.C., ANC Commissioner Salim Adofo, and D.C. Council candidate Jeanné Lewis for a canvass in Ward 8. Upcoming vaccine outreach canvasses are scheduled for April 15 in Ward 4 and April 18 in Ward 7. To volunteer or receive more information on the chapter’s vaccine outreach efforts, please sign up here.