VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response

FDA has authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA has authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has new recommendations on vaccinating this population.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are available in Virginia?

Vaccine brand Pfizer-BioNTech Pfizer-BioNTech

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Moderna

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Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)

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Available for ages 5-11 12+ 18+ 18+
How many shots are needed? Two shots, 21-42 days apart Two shots, 21-42 days apart Two shots, 28-42 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 14 days after you get the shot
Is an additional primary series dose recommended? Not at this time Yes, for some individuals who have a weak immune system Yes, for some individuals who have a weak immune system Not at this time
Is a booster dose recommended? Not at this time At least 6 months after the primary series if you are 18+. At least 6 months after the primary series if you are 18+. Yes, at least 2 months after the first shot, if you are 18+.
Authorization status Emergency Use Authorization FDA Approved (ages 16+) Emergency Use Authorization (ages 12-15, additional doses for certain immunocompromised people ages 12+, and boosters for 18+) Emergency Use Authorization (ages 18+, additional doses for certain immunocompromised people, and boosters) Emergency Use Authorization (ages 18+ and boosters)

Vaccine Recommendations for Children and Teens

The Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) COVID-19 vaccine is now available for Virginia!

Virginia will have enough supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) vaccine for all Virginians ages 5-11. However due to the nature of vaccinating this population, we do anticipate appointments with a primary care provider may be preferred by parents and therefore may be more limited initially. There are many options for children to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) vaccine, including pediatrician and family practice offices, retail pharmacies, federally qualified health centers (FQHC), and Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs).

High demand for the Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) vaccine in some parts of Virginia may make it hard to get an appointment at certain locations at first. More appointments will open up each week. Parents and guardians should check vaccinate.virginia.gov regularly to see updated appointment availability, especially if they are unable to make an appointment at their preferred location.

For more information about vaccines for children and teens, visit the CDC’s webpage about the COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Teens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Children (those less than 18 years of age) account for a significant proportion (>20%) of COVID-19 cases in Virginia. Children aged 5–11 years have the highest case rates of COVID-19 in Virginia of any childhood age group. Although children and adolescents may have less severe acute illness than adult populations, they are still at risk of becoming sick, hospitalized, or in some cases, dying. Although many hospitalized children have underlying conditions, one-third do not. Children who become infected may also develop 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, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Long COVID is when individuals develop symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, headaches, or shortness of breath that last for weeks or months, and may not appear until several weeks after infection. Long COVID can occur even in cases of asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 disease. A number of children have developed myocarditis from COVID-19 infection.

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. We are fortunate to have such a safe and effective vaccine to protect us. Having the ability to vaccinate children aged 5–11 will provide additional protection for this population. Equally important, it can help our students stay in school, and minimize interruptions such as having to quarantine after an exposure. Vaccination can also decrease the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission, which makes our communities safer.

You can now make an appointment for your 5–11 year old to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

Virginia will have enough supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) vaccine for all Virginians ages 5-11. However due to the nature of vaccinating this population, we do anticipate appointments with a primary care provider may be preferred by parents and therefore may be more limited initially. There are many options for children to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) vaccine, including pediatrician and family practice offices, retail pharmacies, federally qualified health centers (FQHC), and Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs).

High demand for the Pfizer-BioNTech (5-11 year old) vaccine in some parts of Virginia may make it hard to get an appointment at certain locations at first. More appointments will open up each week. Parents and guardians should check vaccinate.virginia.gov regularly to see updated appointment availability, especially if they are unable to make an appointment at their preferred location.

To look for an appointment, check with your child’s healthcare provider to see if they are providing COVID-19 vaccines for this age group, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov, or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). Many healthcare providers have vaccines, but some do not. You can find other locations such as retail pharmacies, community events, and community vaccination centers at vaccinate.virginia.gov.

VDH recommends that individuals who are 18 and older should receive booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

No. All COVID-19 vaccines work well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection,  especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.

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 28 days after their second dose. 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.
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.
  • 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, 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.

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

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

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