VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response

Which COVID-19 vaccines are available in Virginia?

Dose
Pfizer-BioNTech
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Moderna
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Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
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Primary Vaccine Series

The initial vaccine schedule

Two shots, 21 days* apart

 

Ages 5 years and older

Two shots, 28 days* apart

 

Ages 18 years and older

One shot

 

Ages 18 years and older

Additional Primary Series

Recommended for people with weakened immune systems

If immunocompromised:

At least 28 days after the primary series

Ages 5 years and older

If immunocompromised:

At least 28 days after the primary series

Ages 18 years and older

If immunocompromised:

An mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) administered at least 28 days after the primary dose

Ages 18 years and older

First Booster Dose

Recommended for some people after completing a primary series

If immunocompromised:

At least 3 months after the additional primary series dose

If not immunocompromised:

At least 5 months after the Pfizer primary series 

Ages 12 years and older

If immunocompromised:

At least 3 months after the additional primary series dose

If not immunocompromised:

At least 5 months after the Moderna primary series

Ages 18 years and older

If immunocompromised:

At least 2 months after the mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) additional dose

If not immunocompromised:

At least 2 months after the J&J primary dose

Ages 18 years and older

Second Booster Dose

Recommended for some people after receiving the first booster dose

All adults 50 years and older, or individuals 12 and older with a weakened immune system, may choose to receive a second mRNA booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster dose. All adults 50 years and older, or individuals 18 and older with a weakened immune system, may choose to receive a second mRNA booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster dose. All adults 50 years and older, individuals 18 and older with a weakened immune system, or people ages 18–49 years who received an initial J&J dose and J&J booster, may choose to receive a second mRNA booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster dose.

*Healthcare providers may recommend an extended interval of 3-8 weeks for Pfizer and 4-8 weeks for Moderna, based on the individual's age and health conditions.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective at preventing severe illness and death. CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.  

More than 109 million children ages 5 through 11 years have received a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. COVID-19 vaccination can help our students stay in school, minimize interruptions (such as staying home after an exposure), and decrease the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 transmission.

Considerations to get your children vaccinated

Although children and adolescents may have a milder illness than adults, they are still at risk of becoming severely ill. The rate of children ages 5 through 11 years hospitalized in the U.S. increased rapidly with the Omicron variant.

Children infected may also develop complications or long-term illness, such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) or long COVID. MIS-C is a condition where different body parts become inflamed. Long COVID is when individuals develop symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, headaches, or shortness of breath that last for weeks or months.

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Vaccines recommendations

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older in the United States for the prevention of COVID-19. Children who have already had a COVID-19 infection benefit from vaccination because it provides stronger and broader protection against the virus and its potential long-term effects. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine authorized or approved for children ages 5 through 17 years at this time.

Children 5- through 17-years-old will need 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine separated by at least 21 days apart. An extended interval is an option for individuals 12 years of age and older based on an individual’s risks and benefits (including the risk of myocarditis). They can talk with a healthcare or vaccine provider about the timing of the second dose in the primary series.

People ages 5 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a third (additional) primary dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, 28 days after their second dose.

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the best timing of your child’s second dose, additional primary dose, or booster dose.

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Booster recommendations

After completing the primary series receiving the 2 doses, it is important that children stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines by receiving booster doses when eligible in order to maintain adequate protection.

Everyone ages 12 years and older should get a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose at least 5 months (or at least 3 months if immunocompromised) after the last dose in their primary series.

People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may choose to receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster dose. This would be a fifth dose for people who completed an mRNA primary series and a fourth dose for people who completed the J&J (Janssen) initial shot.

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Side effects in children

Side effects seen in younger children after vaccination against COVID-19 are similar to those in adolescents and young adults. Reported side effects following immunization are less frequent in children ages 5 through 11 years compared with young adults ages 16 through 25 years.

Side effects in children ages 5 through 11 years were more commonly reported after the second dose and included headache, arm pain, and tiredness. Fever was also commonly reported in children ages 12 through 17 years.

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines impact children's growth or development, including impacts on brain development, bone development, or future fertility.

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Timeline and potential vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years

There is currently no FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 4 years and younger. According to the CDC, these children should not receive any COVID-19 vaccine doses (including partial doses of vaccine formulations approved or authorized for people ages 5 years and older) at this time unless part of a clinical trial.

Moderna has asked for emergency use authorization from the FDA of a two-dose primary series of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to under 6 years. According to media reports, Pfizer is unlikely to officially seek FDA authorization until June for children ages 6 months to 4 years. It is expected that these children will need three doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine use for younger age groups will first need to be reviewed by the FDA’s external scientific advisory committee, then authorized by the FDA, then recommended for use by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and finally, approved by the CDC Director, to become available to the public for use. The exact timeline for this process is uncertain at this time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Top Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Have more questions? Visit our Searchable FAQs [Español] to find your answer!

Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccines

How are vaccines developed? [Español]

Every vaccine goes through the same steps to make sure it is safe and effective. The COVID-19 vaccines were developed more quickly than usual because the financial part of that process was sped up to help us fight this virus.

How vaccines work?

When bacteria or viruses enter our bodies, they attack and multiply. This invasion is called an infection. The immune system fights back to protect the body’s cells. To help train your immune system to protect you from disease, we use vaccines. They do this by:

  • Imitating an infection
  • Helping the body’s immune system
  • Teaching the body to “remember” how to fight the bacteria or virus in the future

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