VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response

VDH is currently preparing to provide booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Virginians, pending guidance from the Federal government. Once final recommendations have been released, VDH will provide guidance to Virginians about accessing a booster dose. Thank you for your patience while we wait for final guidance before finding a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. More information can be found on the VDH Situation Summary webpage.

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Find out how to get the FREE COVID-19 vaccine.

Do you want a copy of your immunization record?

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Request All Other Immunization Records

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Call 877-VAX-IN-VA

Which COVID-19 vaccines are available in Virginia?

Pfizer-BioNTech [Español] Moderna [Español] Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) [Español]
Available for ages 12+ 18+ 18+
How many shots are needed? Two shots, 21 days apart Two shots, 28 days apart One shot
When will I be fully vaccinated? 14 days after your second shot 14 days after your second shot 14 days after your second shot
Is a third dose recommended? Yes, for some individuals who have a weak immune system Yes, for some individuals who have a weak immune system Not at this time
Authorization status FDA Approved (ages 16+), Emergency Use Authorization (ages 12-15) Emergency Use Authorization (ages 18+) Emergency Use Authorization (ages 18+)

Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccines

How are vaccines developed?

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.
It starts with lab testing: Scientists and researchers work on formulas that will become a vaccine.  Before it’s ever given to people, it goes through extensive lab testing.

Next there are clinical trials: Clinical trials test safety, dosage, and effectiveness.  Vaccines have to pass three phases before they can be offered to the general public.

  • Phase 1: Study the safety and look for common reactions, using 20-100 volunteers.
  • Phase 2: Study the effectiveness, by looking for how effective it is and by looking for the right dose using several hundred volunteers.
  • Phase 3: Study safety and effectiveness, by comparing people who got the vaccines with people who did not, using thousands of volunteers.

Approval and Production: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews the data from the trials and decides whether to approve it.

  • Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) [Español] is used by the FDA during a public health emergency. This means that the FDA has looked at the data about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and allows it to be used while they continue to look at the data.
  • A full FDA approval means that the vaccine can be used even when there is not a public health emergency. To get this approval, the manufacturer must provide more detailed data that is collected for a longer time.  After the FDA fully approves the vaccine, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) makes recommendations for how that vaccine should be used.

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

There are three types of COVID-19 vaccines

Frequently Asked Questions

Top Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

The FDA and CDC are reviewing information about whether to recommend a booster dose of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) for people aged 18+ at least 8 months after they received their second dose.  We expect they will make a decision this fall.  We do not yet know whether a booster dose is recommended for people who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  You can learn more on the CDC’s website.

An additional dose (or 3rd dose) of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) is now recommended for people with a weak immune system. This is because their initial immune response after a 2-dose series may not have been strong enough to protect them. A booster dose of a vaccine is recommended when a person’s initial immune response is likely to have decreased over time. Booster doses might be recommended for some people in the months to come.

  • At this time, Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized by the FDA for those ages 12 and up. Pfizer-BioNTech anticipates submitting data for vaccine response among 5-11 year olds to the FDA around September 2021. Authorization for that age group may be given in the midwinter, according to some media reports.
  • In the first week of June 2021, Moderna submitted data for expansion of their EUA, to include 12 to 17 year olds. FDA and ACIP review of these new data still need to occur. Moderna anticipates having data for even younger age groups in “early Fall”. No additional information is available at this time.

No, they do not. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems, in women or men. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you can and should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Common side effects include mild symptoms that should go away in a few days. They include redness, pain, or swelling on the arm where you got the shot. They also include a mild fever, chills, headache, or feeling tired.
  • Severe allergic reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are rare. Call 9-1-1 or seek immediate medical care if you have symptoms. Vaccination sites are ready to help people who have immediate allergic reactions.  Stay at the vaccination site for at least 15 minutes after the vaccine.
  • Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. To let CDC know about any side effects, you can sign up for a free, secure smartphone tool at V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker (https://vsafe.cdc.gov/en/) [Español] Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.
  • Yes, vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
  • There is no evidence of miscarriages, stillbirths, or preterm births linked to the vaccines.
  • In fact, getting vaccinated is especially important for pregnant people who have a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. Additionally, a recent study found antibodies against COVID-19 in babies born to vaccinated people, which might help protect the babies. And recent reports indicate that vaccinated breastfeeding people have antibodies in their breast milk, which may also help protect their babies.

Yes, you should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you’ve already had COVID-19. Having had COVID-19 does not necessarily protect you against catching it again. In fact, a recent study has shown that unvaccinated people are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who had COVID-19 and then got vaccinated. Especially with the Delta variant, it is so important to receive a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.

COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Learn more about mRNA vaccines with this infographic from the CDC. [Español]

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

Do you want a copy of your immunization record?

Save or Print Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record

Request All Other Immunization Records

OR
Call 877-VAX-IN-VA

Media...

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Read More about COVID scams...