DC Residents Are Traveling to Red States to Get Vaccinated Against Covid


Photo via iStock.

More than three months into the vaccine rollout, about 10 percent of DC’s population is fully inoculated against Covid-19. According to national trackers, that puts the District behind almost the entire country (though city officials say the full picture is more complicated). Whatever the case, a lot of DC residents appear tired of waiting around. Unconvinced that their turn for the shot will arrive any time soon, they’re seeking the jab in other, often redder, parts of the country—places where looser rules prevail, and where ambient anti-vaccination thinking might make some locals hesitant to claim their shot.

Facebook groups such as District Vaccine Hunters are full of residents sharing information about where to track down open appointments beyond Washington. “Willing to drive to Danville, VA? Looks like they have more doses than they can use,” posts one District Vaccine Hunters member. Writes another: “My sister and I were successful today in securing our first shot in Spotsylvania County!” Another member joyfully reports: “I just made an appointment this Saturday for my husband at the Rite Aid in Marietta!” —as in Marietta, Ohio.

Private text chains around DC are similarly blowing up. “I heard about [New Bern, North Carolina] from my golf buddy,” says a lobbyist in his 30s, who, despite having high blood pressure had not been able to make a vaccine appointment in town. “He heard about it from someone—I don’t know who—but he got the tip that they were just open and it was basically like there didn’t seem to be any residency requirement.” His golf buddy texted the link to register, and the lobbyist says he was able to book an appointment almost immediately. (While most of North Carolina is still limiting vaccines to people 65 and up, Craven County, where New Bern is located, is one of a few places already inoculating all adults.)

Another Washingtonian, a 55-year-old business owner with no underlying conditions, also got a tip about North Carolina from a friend who’d heard about a facility in a town just over the Virginia border that “has more vaccines than they can give away.” The business owner called the facility, and says he divulged up front that he was a DC resident in fine health. The facility said that wasn’t a problem, and invited both him and his (also healthy) 18-year-old son to come on down. The business owner declined to name the facility, or even the town, because he worries they could become the target of “misguided hate.” But he says it was about a three-hour drive away. “We got it, got something to eat, and came back.”

According to guidance from North Carolina’s health department, residency in the state is not required to get vaccinated there. However, individual providers are allowed to turn non-residents away if they want. 

Ohio doesn’t have a residency requirement either. “At this time, if an individual is otherwise eligible under Ohio’s present criteria, providers should attempt to vaccinate that individual regardless of their county or state of residence,” says a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Health. Indeed, the state government reports that nearly 79,000 people from out-of-state have been vaccinated so far in Ohio. 

One healthy, 40-year-old Ward 4 resident—who, like all the other DC residents in this story, didn’t want her name used because she fears backlash for finding a shortcut to the vaccine—will soon be added to that tally. She has an appointment at a FEMA site in Cleveland later this week. “For me, being in a group that won’t be eligible in DC for a while, and being able to drive to a place where I am eligible or where there’s an abundance—I look at it as I’m freeing up vaccine in DC for someone who needs it and who can’t do that,” she explains. “I’ve driven that far for vacation, I might as well travel that far for my health.”

But for people with the right intel, an hours-long road trip might not be necessary. One DC woman, a self-described “vaccine hunter”, estimates that she’s helped about 30 people get appointments, most of them within a relatively close drive, largely by monitoring local Facebook groups for tips about surplus doses, and learning precisely when places like CVS and Safeway release new batches of appointments. Virginia and Maryland do not have residency requirements, and she stresses that she only assists people who are already eligible for the vaccine for health or work reasons. “Like, yesterday, I was corresponding with someone from the District. Her husband works in construction. …Her sister works doing housekeeping,” the vaccine hunter says. “At midnight, I got her sister an appointment at a CVS [in Northern Virginia]. I got her husband an appointment at a Safeway in Rockville.” 

The fact that all eligible people cannot “self-schedule” appointments at such places in the District—and must instead wait for the city to invite them to make an appointment—is of particular frustration to the vaccine hunter. “At this point,” she says, “we just need everyone vaccinated.” (CVS locations in the District recently began allowing some eligible people to self-schedule vaccines. The DC Department of Health did not respond to an email asking why people in the District can’t more broadly make their own appointments.)

Sometimes, though, it just works out. The 30-something lobbyist—the one with the vaccine appointment in New Bern, North Carolina—was all ready for his six-hour drive south. He’d lined up a rental car and scheduled vacation time at work. Then, the day before the trip, the coveted email from DC Health arrived: He’d finally scored an appointment in the District.  

*This story has been updated to reflect that some eligible people can self-schedule vaccine appointments at DC CVS locations.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia. Kashino lives in Northeast DC.



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Afghans from all around the U.S. travel to Washington D.C. to protest for a Decentralized system & Ethnic Representation & pledge support to H.E. Ahmad Massoud


Jawid Paymani, a protestor who made the trek from Los Angeles on a 40 hour drive, stated taking the health risk for the long protest is a small sacrifice compared to defending the important achievements of the past 2 decades such as women’s rights, democracy, and the continued preservation of freedom of speech.

The protestors filled the Washington sky with banners, one of which read   “A decentralized political system will allow social justice, democracy, and national unity to prevail in Afghanistan!” 

The Afghan activists are worried mistakes of the 2001 Bonn Conference would repeat, excluding any of the key ethnic groups will be a roadblock to achieving peace, in a nation that already requires healing. The landscape has eerily resembled that of the early 90’s. The Afghan peace talks should include all ethnic groups and guarantee a just and lasting peace that is acceptable to all parties within the country. Both the unitary presidential system which is more centralized than any modern Monarchy and the Taliban’s proposed emirate system are unjust and unacceptable for Afghans. A just system is one in which all ethnic groups have: equal representation, autonomy for cultural and religious freedoms, and most important of all, the guarantee of all ethnic group’s human rights. Only with the Decentralization of power from the existing tyrannical centralized system and an equitable distribution of wealth and resources can Afghanistan enter a new age of peace

The Afghans had among the banners with the calls for decentralization, images of Ahmad Shah Massoud who defeated the red army in the 1980s and for years single handedly defended the world against The Taliban & International Terrorism. 

The protestor’s chants roared through the Capital grounds, in favor of Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad’s Shah Massoud. He entered politics earlier this year, and has since become  a new source of hope to Afghans across the world from the United States, to France, India, and Russia.  Ahmad Massoud is currently reviving his father’s movement and is demanding that only through decentralization of power and the equal distribution of wealth can peace and social justice be established in Afghanistan.

Wahab, an activist leader among the crowd, shared the vision that had inspired them to protest. A vision that Ahmad Massoud had published last year in the New York Times about Decentralization in Afghanistan, entitled “What is Missing From Afghan Peace Talks”. 

The link for H.E. Ahmad Massoud’s vision for peace published in the New York Times, can be read on the link below: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/opinion/afghanistan-peace-talks.html

SOURCE Yusife Nazir, Monarch Strategy LLC



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If you're traveling to DC you need to take a COVID-19 test. Here's the District's updated travel advisory – WUSA9.com



If you’re traveling to DC you need to take a COVID-19 test. Here’s the District’s updated travel advisory  WUSA9.com



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Mullane: What led the FBI to Bucks? New Hope mom says it was a bogus tip on DC riots – Bucks County Courier Times



Mullane: What led the FBI to Bucks? New Hope mom says it was a bogus tip on DC riots  Bucks County Courier Times



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Ice could cause dangerous travel conditions Saturday day and night in D.C. area – The Washington Post



Ice could cause dangerous travel conditions Saturday day and night in D.C. area  The Washington Post



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Virginia, Maryland, DC leaders urge Americans not to travel for Inauguration


“On January 20, there will be a transition of power, and we will work together, and with our partners in the federal government, to ensure the safety of the National Capital Region. Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, D.C. and to instead participate virtually.



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FBI visited extremists ahead of Capitol riots, urged them not to travel to DC: source


The FBI visited extremists prior to the pro-Trump rally and the deadly Capitol riot last week and urged them not to travel to Washington, D.C., a source familiar with the situation told Fox News.

It is unclear, at this point, how many extremists were contacted and how far in advance of Jan. 6. 

DOJ CHARGES 2 MEN IN CONNECTION WITH CAPITOL RIOT

Pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, sending Congress into recess as members attempted to certify the results of the presidential election in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

The president spoke earlier in the day in Washington at a rally to supporters, who later marched to the Capitol. He further pressured Vice President Mike Pence to act on his own to decertify the results of the election and send them back to the states for recertification.

Pence, before the joint session of Congress began, said he did not believe, under the Constitution, that he had the authority to “unilaterally” accept or reject electoral votes.

As members of the House and Senate debated and raised objections to certain electoral votes, both chambers were forced to recess and evacuate their chambers as protesters stormed the Capitol, sending it into lockdown for hours.

Washington police said the riot at the Capitol resulted in five deaths — including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was shot inside the building — and at least 70 arrests.

The Justice Department has charged more than a dozen people involved in the riots and dozens more have been charged in Superior Court in Washington D.C. with unlawful entry, curfew violations and firearms-related crimes.

Last month, President Trump promised supporters a “wild” protest in D.C. on Jan. 6.

TRUMP SAYS HIS SUPPORTERS WILL STILL HAVE ‘A GIANT VOICE’ AFTER HE LEAVES OFFICE AND WON’T BE ‘DISRESPECTED’

NBC News first reported that the FBI visited extremists planning to attend the pro-Trump rallies, and reported that the FBI warned Capitol Police of potential violence that day.

The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Despite warnings about pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington, Capitol Police did not plan to bolster staffing and did not anticipate that the demonstration would escalate into a massive violent riot, according to people briefed on law enforcement’s response.

The Capitol Police’s response has drawn condemnation from lawmakers and prompted the ouster of the department’s chief and the sergeants-at-arms of both the House and Senate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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Have gun, will travel. National Guard comes to DC armed and ready to protect


WASHINGTON — Standing across the street from the 7-foot tall black metal fence that now surrounds the U.S. Capitol building, National Guard soldiers shifted feet to brace themselves against the cold wind.

Troops from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Virginia joined those from D.C. Leaving their homes and jobs, the Guard troops are here, three days after five people — including two Air Force veterans — were killed in an attempted insurrection.

They are here to help ensure it does not happen again.

An impromptu memorial for Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, an Air Force veteran, killed during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters. (Howard Altman/staff)
An impromptu memorial for Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, an Air Force veteran, killed during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters. (Howard Altman/staff)

“I never thought I would see this in my own country,” said one of them, who, like other troops, spoke anonymously without authorization to speak on the record.

The soldier is part of a major mobilization effort that has seen about 6,200 National Guard troops flow into town from several nearby states. The troops are already all in town.

Troops expressed a true sense of duty and urgency, to help protect a city still on edge after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot stoked by rhetoric from outgoing President Donald Trump and just ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden.

Passersby showed their appreciation with nods and thumbs up.

“Thanks for coming,” many said as the hurried past the troops.

Bad moon rising

Even as Washington licks its wounds and tries to recover from an assault on the seat of government, a new wave of unrest may be about to crest.

Those who stormed the Capitol were able to stall, but not end the certification of the 2020 presidential election making Biden the official winner. Now social media is full of posts extolling what’s been dubbed the “Million Militia March” in which Trump supporters will return to the Capitol ahead of the inauguration.

Private chat groups on Gab and Parler are full of posts talking about possibly disrupting Biden’s inauguration, the New York Times reports.

There is chatter about ride shares, where to find lodging in the Washington area — and what to bring. Baseball bats, perhaps, or assault rifles.

“We took the building once,” one commenter posted, according to the Times, “we can take it again.”

The Washington Post reported a call for armed marchers around the nation.

“REFUSE TO BE SILENCED,” said one online post cited by Alethea Group, calling for an “ARMED MARCH ON CAPITOL HILL & ALL STATE CAPITOLS” for Jan. 17, the last Sunday of Trump’s polarizing presidency. Another post called for action at “DC & All State Capitols” and was signed by “common folk who are tired of being tread upon” declares: “We were warned!”

Ready to protect

Guard officials would not comment on the specifics of the Million Militia March.

“The DC National Guard stands ready to support the incident command and is committed to supporting our local and federal agency partners,” said Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper, a DCNG spokesman.

Ready, in this case, may mean that these troops are authorized to stand watch armed, if needed. But that’s something that has yet to happen.

Some of the National Guard troops who have rushed to the nation’s capital brought weapons, but do not initially plan on carrying them, said Clapper.

“We are not carrying weapons now, but any changes in posture will be determined by intel reports and risk assessment,” he said.

For Guard troops standing outside to guard the Capitol, watching the Jan. 6 attack unfold was reminiscent of what many experienced on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We knew right away that we were going to come here,” said one Guard soldier.

National Guard troops stand watch at the Capitol building. (Howard Altman/Staff)
National Guard troops stand watch at the Capitol building. (Howard Altman/Staff)





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