Serving the City of Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren.
Language translations and TTY services available at 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682), 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday-Friday
Servicios de traducción y teléfonos de texto (TTY) están disponibles: 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682), 8:00 AM–8:00 PM lunes a viernes.
Local call center: 877-ASK-VDH3
For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:
- 65 years and older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
(Strasburg, Va.) –Effective immediately, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has lifted the recreational advisory due to a harmful algae bloom (HAB) on the North Fork (NF) of the Shenandoah River in Shenandoah and Warren Counties from Chapman’s Landing to Riverton. This river segment (approximately 52.5 miles) was placed under a recreational advisory on August 10 due to widespread algal mats, which contained both cyanobacteria cells and toxins at elevated levels.
Media Contact: Brookie Crawford, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 13, 2021
Media Contact: Melissa Gordon, Vaccinate Virginia Spokesperson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Will Provide Third Doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines for Immunocompromised People
(Richmond, Va.) — Today the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that Virginia will make third doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines available for moderately and severely immunocompromised Virginians, starting as early as August 14. This move comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its vaccination guidelines to recommend third mRNA doses for people who have significantly compromised immune systems. Vaccines are readily available throughout Virginia, and vaccine providers are expected to make third doses available over the next several days as they adapt their processes. Continue reading “Virginia Will Provide Third Doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines for Immunocompromised People”
Considerations for intervals for mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series
mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are FDA-approved or authorized for a 3-week (Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) or 4-week (Moderna vaccine) interval between the first and second dose. A 3- or 4-week interval continues to be the recommended interval for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, adults ages 65 years and older, and others who need rapid protection due to increased concern about community transmission or risk of severe disease. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at the FDA-approved or FDA-authorized intervals, but a longer interval may be considered for some populations. While absolute risk remains small, the relative risk for myocarditis is higher for males ages 12-39 years, and this risk might be reduced by extending the interval between the first and second dose. Some studies in adolescents (ages 12-17 years) and adults have shown the small risk of myocarditis associated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines might be reduced and peak antibody responses and vaccine effectiveness may be increased with an interval longer than 4 weeks. Extending the interval beyond 8 weeks has not been shown to provide additional benefit. There are currently no data available for children ages 11 years and younger. Therefore, an 8-week interval may be optimal for some people ages 12 years and older, especially for males ages 12–39 years.
Why, you may ask, are we now vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 against the COVID-19 virus?
You’ve probably heard that serious effects of the virus in young children are rare, and you have heard correctly. So why vaccinate?
I will answer by broadening the question: why do we vaccinate children at all? The answer is twofold: first, to protect children from disease, and second, to prevent children from spreading disease to others.
To protect young children we vaccinate them against a number of diseases that were once very common, and were capable of causing severe illness, disability, or death. While they are now extremely rare, they haven’t been wiped out, and we don’t want them back. Two examples:
In the 1950s there were between 10,000 and 20,000 cases per year of paralytic polio. This disease could leave a person requiring leg braces, or a wheelchair (as in the case of FDR), or an iron lung. Widespread vaccination eradicated it from the Western Hemisphere, but it still exists in parts of Asia and Africa. We vaccinate because we don’t want it back.
This is a respiratory infection that can damage the heart as well. My grandmother’s sister died from it in the 1890s. It caused over 100,000 infections and 13,000 deaths each year in the 1920s. It is now extremely rare in the US, but more common in other parts of the world, including Africa and southern Asia, and more recently it has made a comeback in Venezuela. We vaccinate because we don’t want it back, either.
To prevent children from spreading disease, we vaccinate against other formerly common conditions.
Rubella. Also called German measles, it is usually a mild, self-limiting disease in children, with little fever and a mild rash. But if a woman in the first three months of pregnancy is infected, her baby can miscarry, or be born dead or with severe defects of the heart, brain, eyes, ears, and bones. In 1964-65, there were 12.5 million cases of rubella in the US, with 11,000 miscarriages, 2100 stillbirths, and 20,000 babies with birth defects. In the 1970s, it was nearly eradicated by vaccination. We vaccinate children for rubella, because we definitely don’t want this one back.
What does this have to do with COVID? Both reasons apply. In the last twenty months in Virginia, 555 children under age 10 have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and six have died. Much less common than in adults, but very bad outcomes if it’s your child. Second, young children are able to spread COVID to others, and this is especially of concern during the holiday season where visits to elderly relatives are common. Adults suffer long-term effects from COVID, and in those over 80 who are unvaccinated, infection carries roughly a 20% fatality rate. Even vaccinated elderly are not without risk.
We offer vaccination against COVID to children for the same two reasons we offer them for other diseases: to protect the children from rare but serious disease effects, and to prevent them from spreading a highly contagious and dangerous disease to elderly and infirm relatives and contacts.
With the holidays approaching, now is the time to give serious consideration to vaccinating your children against COVID-19. Discuss concerns with your child’s physician. Vaccines are available from many primary care offices, numerous local pharmacies, and your local health department; we will also be offering shot clinics in collaboration with the local school districts. Call your local school, your doctor, check vaccines.gov for pharmacies, visit lfhd.org, call or drive past your local health department. If the sign is out, we’re vaccinating.
Dr. Colin Greene is a retired Army family physician, and presently serves as the Director of the Lord Fairfax Health District, Virginia Department of Health.
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Frederick / Winchester
10 Baker St.
Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 722-3470
Fax: (540) 722-3475
Frederick / Winchester
107 North Kent St., Suite 201
Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 722-3480
Fax: (540) 722-3479
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Berryville, VA 22611
Phone: (540) 955-1033
Fax: (540) 955-4094
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Front Royal, VA 22630
Phone: (540) 635-3159
Fax: (540) 635-9698
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Luray, VA 22835
Phone: (540) 743-6528
Fax: (540) 743-3811
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Woodstock, VA 22664
Phone: (540) 459-3733
Fax: (540) 459-8267