VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response

New Updates:

Pediatric (6m — 4/5y) Vaccine Update

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children aged 6 months through 4/5 years are now available in Virginia.

Vaccines for this age group may be available at local health departments and partnering healthcare providers, including pediatrician and family practice offices, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and pharmacies (3 years of age and older). Parents should contact their healthcare provider to determine if they are offering vaccines and when appointments will be available for their child. Parents may also search Vaccinate.Virginia.gov for appointments at other venues.

Novavax Update

On July 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave its approval for the use of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is authorized and recommended for adults aged 18 years and older as a two-dose primary series. The vaccine, though, is not yet available in the United States, but the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) anticipates availability by the middle of August. It will then be available for providers to begin administering to patients. Visit this page for future updates.

Do you want a copy of your immunization record?

OR Call 877-VAX-IN-VA

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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Novavax
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Primary Vaccine Series
The initial vaccine schedule
Ages 6 months through 4 years

Two shots 21 days* apart, followed by a third shot at least 8 weeks after the second dose.

Ages 6 months and older

Two shots, 28 days* apart

Ages 18 years and older

One shot

Ages 18 years and older

Two shots, 21 days* apart

Ages 5 years and older

Two shots, 21 days* apart

Additional Primary Series
Recommended for people with weakened immune systems
If immunocompromised:

Ages 5 years and older

At least 28 days after the primary series

If immunocompromised:

Ages 6 months and older 

At least 28 days after the primary series

If immunocompromised:

Ages 18 years and older

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

A third primary dose is not currently recommended.
First Booster Dose
Recommended for some people after completing a primary series
If immunocompromised:

Ages 5 years and older

At least 3 months after the additional primary series dose

If immunocompromised:

Ages 18 years and older

At least 3 months after the additional primary series dose

If immunocompromised:

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

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is not authorized for use as a booster dose.
If not immunocompromised:

Ages 5 years and older

At least 5 months after the Pfizer primary series

If not immunocompromised:

Ages 18 years and older

At least 5 months after the Moderna primary series

If not immunocompromised:

Ages 18 years and older

At least 2 months after the J&J primary dose

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, should 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, should 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, should receive a second mRNA booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster dose.

People ages 18–49 years who received an initial J&J dose and J&J booster may receive a second mRNA booster at least 4 months after the first booster dose.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is not authorized for use as a booster dose.

*Healthcare providers may recommend an extended interval of 3-8 weeks for Pfizer and Novavax 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  6 months and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.  

The COVID-19 pandemic causes significant disruptions for families and children, and vaccination can help minimize disruptions (such as staying home after an exposure)  and decrease the likelihood of spreading the virus.

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. Children with a COVID-19 infection have had serious illness, been hospitalized, or have even died.

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 6 months 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.

Children ages 6 months through 5 years who receive the Moderna vaccine will need 2 doses for the primary series with 4 to 8 weeks between the first and second dose.

Children ages 6 months through 4 years who receive the Pfizer vaccine will need 3 doses for the primary series with 3 to 8 weeks between Dose 1 and Dose 2 and at least 8 weeks between Dose 2 and Dose 3.

Children ages 5 through 17 years will need 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine separated by 3 to 8 weeks. Children ages 6 through 17 years will need 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine separated by 4 to 8 weeks.

An extended interval is an option for individuals 6 months of age and older based on an individual’s risks and benefits (including the rare 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 6 months and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a third (additional) primary dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 28 days after their second dose.

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, 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 5 years and older who received the Pfizer primary series, should get a Pfizer booster dose at least 5 months after the last dose in their primary series.

Everyone ages 5 years and older who received the Pfizer primary series and who is moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose at least 3 months after the last dose in their primary series.

People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should 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 infants, toddlers, and children

Side effects in infants and toddlers were usually mild in severity and resolved within a few days. Commonly reported side effects in the youngest age groups were pain or tenderness at the injection side, fatigue, irritability and drowsiness. Fevers were also reported.

Side effects seen in young children after vaccination against COVID-19 are similar to those in adolescents and young adults.

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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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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