COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

Overview

Find more FAQs and information on the COVID-19 vaccine on the Virginia Department of Health website.

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Vaccine Distribution 

Which vaccines are available for the general population (most people)? (Last updated: 6/24/2022)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of all approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance. The COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for People Who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised is provided in a separate table after the COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for the General Population (Most People). The CDC maintains a current COVID-19 vaccine schedule for most people and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for the General Population (Most People)
COVID-19 Vaccines* Ages Approved Vaccination Schedule
mRNA Vaccines:**
Pfizer-BioNTech 6 months-4 years

3 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A booster dose is not currently recommended

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty 12+)

 

5-49 years

3 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses)

A single booster dose is recommended 5 or more months after the primary series

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) 50 years and older

4 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses)

2-dose booster series is recommended:

  • First booster dose is recommended at least 5 months after the primary series
  • Second booster dose is recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first booster dose
Moderna

6 months-17 years

2 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (4-8 weeks between doses)

A booster dose is not currently recommended

Moderna (Spikevax) 18-49 years

3 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (4-8 weeks between doses)

A single booster dose is recommended at least 5 months after the primary series

Moderna (Spikevax) 50 years and older

4 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (4 weeks between doses)

2-dose booster series is recommended:

  • First booster dose is recommended at least 5 months after the primary series
  • Second booster dose is recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first booster dose
Anyone unable or unwilling to receive mRNA vaccine
Johnson and Johnson(Janssen)

Viral vector vaccine

18-49 years

2 Total Doses

1-dose primary series

A single booster dose^ is recommended at least 2 months after the primary series

^Peopleages 18-49 who are not moderately or severely immunocompromised and received a Johnson & Johnson (J&J) primary vaccine and J&J booster dose can get a second booster dose using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after their first J&J booster dose.

Johnson and Johnson(Janssen)

Viral vector vaccine

50 years and older

3 Total Doses

1-dose primary series

2-dose booster series is recommended:

  • First booster dose is recommended at least 2 months after the primary series
  • Second booster dose is recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first booster dose

CDC recommends mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older. Anyone unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine can request Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive as your primary series and as a booster dose. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

** Some people aged 12 and older, especially males 12 to 39 years of age, may want to consult with their healthcare provider about the interval length between the first and second dose of mRNA vaccine series based on the individual patient's risk and benefit profile. (see CDC guidance for more information)

How do I get a free COVID-19 vaccine? (Last updated: 1/20/2022)

Arlington County Public Health Clinics

  • Schedule an appointment or walk-in*
  • *Walk-in and scheduled appointments are available for 1st and 2nd doses, children ages 5–11, additional doses, and booster doses.
  •  Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • If you need ADA accommodations or help scheduling an appointment, call 703-228-7999

Vaccines.gov

  • Schedule an appointment.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or to 822862 (VACUNA) to find nearby vaccine locations.

Healthcare Providers

  • Contact your healthcare provider to see if they are offering COVID-19 vaccines to patients.

Can I get a flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time? (Last updated 9/29/2021)

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may be administered without regard to timing. This includes getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.

If I already had COVID-19, should I still get the vaccine? (2/14/2022)

Yes. It is recommended that you still get the vaccine, as long as you are not symptomatic and out of the isolation period

 


Vaccines for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People

Who is considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised? (Last updated: 4/19/2022)

People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised due to several types of conditions and treatments. Examples include:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response

If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, you are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death. Additionally, your immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised.

Some people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get an additional primary dose after completing their primary vaccine series. Immunocompromised people 12 years and older should also get a booster dose after receiving an additional primary dose. Talk to your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination and your medical condition.

Vaccine eligibility information can be found in the CDC Interim Clinical Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccines and in the County’s COVID-19 Vaccination Schedules for the general population and for immunocompromised people.

Which vaccines are recommended for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised? (Last updated 6/24/2022)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of all approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides vaccination guidance for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance. The COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for the General Population (Most People) is provided in a separate table above the COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for People Who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised. The CDC maintains a COVID-19 vaccination schedule for most people and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for People Who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised
COVID-19 Vaccines* Ages Approved Vaccination Schedule
mRNA Vaccines:**
Pfizer-BioNTech 6 months-4 years

3 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A booster dose is not currently recommended
Pfizer-BioNTech 5-11 years

4 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A single booster dose recommended at least 3 months after the 3-dose primary series
Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) 12 years and older

5 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

First booster dose recommended at least 3 months after the 3-dose primary series

Second booster dose recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first booster dose
Moderna

 

6 months-17 years

3 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (4 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A booster dose is not currently recommended
Moderna (Spikevax) 18 years and older

5 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (4 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

First booster dose recommended at least 3 months after the primary series

Second booster dose recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first booster dose
Anyone unable or unwilling to receive mRNA vaccine

Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)***

Viral vector vaccine

18 years and older

4 Total Doses***

2-dose primary series is recommended

  • First dose is J&J vaccine
  • Second dose is recommended using an mRNA vaccine 4 weeks after the first J&J dose

First booster shot (preferably mRNA) recommended at least 2 months after second primary dose (mRNA)

Second booster dose recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first mRNA booster dose

CDC recommends mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older. Anyone unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine can request Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive as your primary series and as a booster dose. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

** Some people aged 12 and older, especially males 12 to 39 years of age, may want to consult with their healthcare providers about the interval length between the first and second dose of mRNA vaccine series based on the individual patient's risk and benefit profile. (see CDC guidance for more information)

*** CDC provides additional details to assist recipients of Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) to complete the 4-dose regimen.  See Appendix D, Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States for more information.

What is the difference between an additional dose and booster dose? (Last updated: 9/28/2021)

An additional, or third, dose of a vaccine is given to an immunocompromised person when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series may have been insufficient.

booster is administered when an initial, sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have weakened over time.

For COVID-19, a primary vaccine series is defined as either:

  • Two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) separated by the recommended number of 21 or 28 days; or
  • One dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

How do I get an additional dose? (Last updated: 9/28/2021)

If you are eligible, you can receive an additional dose wherever vaccines are available.  

Arlington County Public Health Clinics

Vaccines.gov

  • Schedule an appointment.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or to 822862 (VACUNA) to find nearby vaccine locations.

Healthcare Providers

  • Contact your healthcare provider to see if they are offering an additional dose to patients.

Do I need to show proof that I am immunocompromised? (Last updated: 8/19/2021)

No. Proof of medical condition is not required, though individuals will be asked to self-attest as having a qualifying condition at the time of vaccination.

Is the additional dose size the same as the primary series? (Last updated 2/14/2022)

Pfizer and Moderna are the same dose as their original vaccine regimens, 0.3 mL and 0.5 mL respectively. An mRNA dose is recommended as an additional dose for moderately or severely immunocompromised people who received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

 


Booster Doses

What is the difference between an additional dose and a booster dose? (Last updated: 9/28/2021)

An additional, or third, dose of a vaccine is given to an immunocompromised person when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series may have been insufficient.

booster is administered when an initial, sufficient immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have weakened over time.

For COVID-19, a primary vaccine series is defined as either:

  • Two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) separated by the recommended number of 21 or 28 days; or
  • One dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Who is eligible for a booster dose? (Last updated: 3/30/2022)

First and second booster dose eligibility information can be found in the COVID-19 Vaccination Schedules for the general population and for immunocompromised people.

Getting vaccinated with a booster dose as soon as you are eligible is strongly encouraged to get your antibody levels as high as possible to maintain strong protection against severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death, including against the Delta and Omicron variant. 

Should I get a second booster dose? (Last updated: 4/19/2022)

You may benefit from receiving a second mRNA booster dose if you are:

People ages 18–49 years who received the J&J COVID-19 vaccine as both their primary series dose and booster dose may also benefit from receiving an mRNA dose as a second booster to restore protection against COVID-19.

Whether to get a second booster dose is an individual decision based on health status, age, and personal circumstances. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

Vaccine eligibility information can be found in the CDC Interim Clinical Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccines and in the County’s COVID-19 Vaccination Schedules for the general population and for immunocompromised people.

How do I get a booster dose? (Last updated: 10/25/2021)

If you are eligible, you can receive a booster dose wherever vaccines are available. 

Arlington County Public Health Clinics

Vaccines.gov

  • Schedule an appointment.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or to 822862 (VACUNA) to find nearby vaccine locations.

Healthcare Providers

  • Contact your healthcare provider to see if they are offering boosters to patients.

Do I need to show proof to get a booster dose? (Last updated: 9/28/2021)

No. Proof is not required. Individuals will be asked to self attest, or self-report, that they meet the requirements set by the CDC and FDA to receive a booster dose.

Do I need to get the same vaccine brand? (Last updated 10/25/2021)

Now that there are booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States—Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson—eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose.

Some people may have a preference to receive the same vaccine product as their primary series, and others may prefer to receive a different booster than their primary series. Deciding which brand to use may depend on which brand is available and an individual benefit-risk assessment. Consider talking to a healthcare provider if you have concerns about which brand of booster to take.

Is the booster dose size the same as the primary series? (Last updated: 6/1/2022)

COVID-19 Vaccine Dose and Injection Volume for Primary Series and Booster Dose

Primary Series  Booster Dose
COVID-19 Vaccines Ages Approved  Dose Volume   Dose Volume
Pfizer-BioNTech 5-11 10 µg 0.2 mL 10 µg 0.2 mL
Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) 12 and older 30 µg 0.3 mL 30 µg  0.3 mL
Moderna (Spikevax) 18 and older 100 µg

 

0.5 mL

 

50 µg 0.25 mL
Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)   18 and older

5×1010 viral particles

0.5 mL 5×1010 viral particles 0.5 mL

 


Vaccine Mandate for County and APS Employees

Who does the policy apply to? (Last updated: 8/19/2021)

Arlington County Government and Arlington Public Schools (APS) implemented a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees effective August 30, 2021. This joint action is a necessary step to help keep the community safe and is consistent with COVID-19 public health guidance. This policy also applies to interns, volunteers, substitutes, and contractors. 

Why is a vaccine mandate necessary? (Last updated: 8/19/2021)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Arlington County Public Health Division, COVID-19 continues to pose a risk, especially to individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Therefore, certain safety measures remain necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community.

Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to significantly reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death, even with the Delta variant. This is part of a layered approach to keeping the community, as well as children who are not yet eligible for vaccination, safe.

Arlington County and APS have offered vaccines to all employees and continue to follow Virginia Department of Health guidance regarding vaccination. APS is committed to ensuring that Arlington schools open safely and remain open for student learning; and Arlington County has an obligation to ensure continuity of government and government services. This includes providing critical services for the social, emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing of the community. Reductions in critical government and educational services can have dramatic impacts on the health and wellbeing of our community.

What if an employee chooses not to be vaccinated? (Last updated: 8/19/2021)

County and APS employees are required to submit vaccine documentation to their respective agencies.

All unvaccinated employees are required to be tested at least weekly for COVID-19 to limit the potential spread in the workforce and in the community. Testing is provided at no cost to the employee.

Reasonable accommodations are offered to qualified employees with a disability or those with a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits them from receiving a vaccine.

 


Children Ages 6 Months and Older

How do I get my child vaccinated? (Last updated: 6/23/2022)

Free COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 6 months and older.

 Arlington County Public Health Clinics

Vaccines.gov

  • Schedule an appointment.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or to 822862 (VACUNA) to find nearby vaccine locations.

Pediatricians

  •  Contact your child’s pediatrician to ask if they are offering the vaccine to patients as young as 6 months old. 

Do parents or legal guardian need to be present for the child to get the vaccine? (Last updated: 6/23/2022)

Yes, a parent or legal guardian must be present to provide consent for their dependent child (17 years and younger) to get the vaccine. 

A mask must be worn for everyone 2 years of age and older. Social distancing of 6 feet or greater is practiced.

How many doses of Moderna will my child receive? (Last updated: 6/24/2022)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of all approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance. The CDC maintains a current COVID-19 vaccine schedule for most people and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for Most Children
COVID-19 Vaccines* Ages Approved Vaccination Schedule
mRNA Vaccines:**
Moderna 6 months-5 years

2 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (4-8 weeks between doses)

A booster dose is not currently recommended 

Moderna  6-17 years

2 Total Doses

 2-dose primary series (4-8 weeks between doses)

A booster dose is not currently recommended 

CDC recommends mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older. Anyone unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine can request Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive as your primary series and as a booster dose. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

** Some people aged 12 and older, especially males 12 to 39 years of age, may want to consult with their healthcare provider about the interval length between the first and second dose of mRNA vaccine series based on the individual patient's risk and benefit profile. (see CDC guidance for more information)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of all approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides vaccination guidance for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidanceThe CDC maintains a current COVID-19 vaccine schedule for most people and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for Children Who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised
COVID-19 Vaccines* Ages Approved Vaccination Schedule
mRNA Vaccines:**
Moderna 6 months-17 years

3 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (4 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A booster dose is not currently recommended

CDC recommends mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older. Anyone unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine can request Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive as your primary series and as a booster dose. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

** Some people aged 12 and older, especially males 12 to 39 years of age, may want to consult with their healthcare providers about the interval length between the first and second dose of mRNA vaccine series based on the individual patient's risk and benefit profile. (see CDC guidance for more information)

How many doses of Pfizer will my child receive? (Last updated: 6/24/2022)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of all approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance. The CDC maintains a current COVID-19 vaccine schedule for most people and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for Most Children
COVID-19 Vaccines* Ages Approved Vaccination Schedule
mRNA Vaccines:**
Pfizer-BioNTech 6 months-4 years

3 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A booster dose is not currently recommended

Pfizer-BioNTech 5-11 years

3 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses)

A single booster dose is recommended at least 5 months after the primary series

Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) 12-17 years

3 Total Doses

2-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses)

A single booster dose is recommended at least 5 months after the primary series

CDC recommends mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older. Anyone unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine can request Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive as your primary series and as a booster dose. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

** Some people aged 12 and older, especially males 12 to 39 years of age, may want to consult with their healthcare provider about the interval length between the first and second dose of mRNA vaccine series based on the individual patient's risk and benefit profile. (see CDC guidance for more information)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of all approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides vaccination guidance for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance. The CDC maintains a current COVID-19 vaccine schedule for most people and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedule for Children Who are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised
COVID-19 Vaccines* Ages Approved Vaccination Schedule
mRNA Vaccines:**
Pfizer-BioNTech 6 months-4 years

3 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3-8 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A booster dose is not currently recommended

Pfizer-BioNTech 5-11 years

4 Total Doses

3-dose primary series (3 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

A single booster dose recommended at least 3 months after the 3-dose primary series  
Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) 12-17 years

5 Total Doses

 3-dose primary series (3 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3)

First booster dose recommended at least 3 months after the 3-dose primary series

Second booster dose recommended using an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after the first booster dose 

CDC recommends mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 years and older. Anyone unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine can request Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine to receive as your primary series and as a booster dose. Talk to your healthcare provider for additional guidance.

** Some people aged 12 and older, especially males 12 to 39 years of age, may want to consult with their healthcare providers about the interval length between the first and second dose of mRNA vaccine series based on the individual patient's risk and benefit profile. (see CDC guidance for more information)

Are K-12 schools in Virginia requiring COVID-19 vaccination? (Last updated: 6/23/2022)

There are no plans to mandate that K-12 school children receive a COVID-19 vaccine at this time. The State General Assembly would need to approve that through Virginia’s immunization code.

Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same time? (Last updated 6/23/2022)

COVID-19 vaccines (regardless of manufacturer) and other vaccines may be administered without regard to timing (CDC). This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as administration within 14 days.

What if my child moves from a younger age group to an older age group during the primary series? (Last updated: 6/24/2022)

Children should receive the age-appropriate vaccine product and follow the schedule based on their age on the day of vaccination, regardless of their size or weight.

If a child moves from a younger age group to an older age group (e.g., moves from age 4 years to age 5 years) during the primary series, they should receive the vaccine dosage for the older age group for all subsequent doses.

If a child moves from age 11 years to age 12 years during the primary series or between the primary series and booster doses(s), they should receive the vaccine dosage for the older age group for all subsequent doses.

More information on all authorized COVID-19 vaccine schedules is provided by CDC.

 

 

  


Once I Have an Appointment

Do I need to provide identification or documentation? (Last updated: 5/14/2021)

No. Photo identification is not required for vaccination. You will need to provide a form of identification (e.g., drivers license, passport, student ID, pay stub, bill) when you arrive for your scheduled appointment. This is needed to confirm that we are vaccinating the right person. You cannot be turned away for lack of documentation.

How much will the COVID vaccine cost? (Last updated: 2/26/2021)

COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost.

Arlington County Public Health vaccine clinics do not bill patients or insurance for administrative costs.

Please note that you do NOT pay to schedule an appointment; and you will NOT be asked for payment information, social security numbers or Medicare information. Please do NOT give this information to someone who asks. For more information on vaccine scams, visit the CDC's website.

 


After I get the Vaccine

Are there side effects?

You may have some side effects, such as pain, redness, and swelling, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. For more information visit CDC's website.

After I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance? (Last updated: 5/27/2021)

Find the latest guidance from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health at the VDH page When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.

Do I need to quarantine after I get the vaccine?

No. The vaccine does not contain a live virus. It only contains a piece of the genetic code for the spike protein, which protects your body from the virus. It cannot give you COVID-19.

When am I fully vaccinated? (Last updated: 9/28/2021)

You are fully vaccinated for:

  • Pfizer: 14 days after receiving the second dose of this two-dose vaccine. 
  • Moderna: 14 days after receiving the second dose of this two-dose vaccine 
  • Johnson & Johnson: 14 days after receiving one dose of this one-dose vaccine

At this time, CDC does not plan to update the definition of fully vaccinated.

 

I lost my vaccination card. How do I get a new one? (Last updated: 9/17/2021)

If you lost your card prior to receiving your second dose, you may obtain a new card from your vaccinator when you receive your second dose. 

If you or your child lost your card after your second dose or after completing a one-dose vaccination series and were vaccinated in Virginia, you can use the Vaccination Record Request Portal to view and print a QR code record of your COVID-19 vaccinations. 

  • Click here
  • Enter your name, date of birth, and ZIP code

If there is a match, the system will send a verification code to the phone number associated with your vaccination record, through either a text message or an automated voice call. This prevents other people from accessing your record. Once you enter the verification code, you can view, save, and print your vaccination record.

If you cannot locate your COVID-19 vaccination record through the portal or you would like a record of other vaccinations, you may submit your request online. You can also contact 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

If you registered for the vaccine through your employer and created an account using the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), you can log in at the website https://vams.cdc.gov where you can “View your vaccination certificate" in the Recipient Portal.

Also, be sure to take a picture of your card for your records!  

How can I get a COVID-19 vaccination record QR code? (Last updated: 9/17/2021)

The Virginia Department of Health announced on Sep. 16, 2021, the addition of QR codes—a type of barcode that can be scanned with smartphones—to Virginia COVID-19 vaccination records.

You can obtain your COVID-19 Vaccination Record with QR Code at vaccinate.virginia.gov on your smartphone, or tablet or computer browser. There is also a link to the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Request Portal in the free COVIDWISE app (tap “Virtual VDH” at the bottom). You can also call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) for help Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Vaccination Records with QR Codes are available to anyone whose vaccination record is in the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS) and includes a working phone number.

 


Second mRNA Doses

Do I need to get the same mRNA vaccine for the second dose in the primary series? (Last updated 3/3/2022)

The CDC recommends that the same mRNA vaccine product be used for first and second doses in the primary series.

How many weeks are recommended between the first and second mRNA doses in the primary series? (Last updated 3/3/2022)

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. 

An 8-week interval may be optimal for some people ages 12 years and older, especially for males ages 12 to 39 years. (see CDC guidance for more information)

A shorter interval (3 weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech; 4 weeks for Moderna) between the first and second doses remains the recommended interval for:

  • people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • adults ages 65 years and older
  • others who need rapid protection due to increased concern about community transmission or risk of severe disease

How will the second dose be scheduled at Arlington clinics? (Last updated: 11/3/2021)

Second dose appointments will be scheduled at the time of the first dose. If you have questions or need help, please call the County’s COVID-19 hotline at 703-228-7999.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single shot and does not require a second dose.

 


Vaccine Safety

Are the vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.

For more safety information, visit the CDC's website

What is in the vaccine? (Last updated: 4/27/2021)

Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. These vaccines include a piece of messenger RNA, or mRNA, that your body uses as instructions to make a protein that appears on the surface of the virus. Your immune system reacts to this protein and develops a response without danger of COVID-19 infection. This allows your body to start preparing to fight against the virus even before you are exposed.

The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. A vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in the body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

None of the vaccines can give you COVID-19.

Vaccine ingredients lists can be found on the manufacturer’s fact sheets:

How will COVID-19 vaccines protect me and others?

The COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have been shown to have high efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection and preventing severe disease. The vaccines work by stimulating our body’s immune system to make “antibodies” to the COVID-19 virus. These antibodies allow the body to quickly defend itself if a person becomes infected with the virus.

While vaccines are very effective in preventing COVID-19, they are just one tool. Even for those who have been vaccinated, a combination of actions is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. After getting the vaccine, it will still be important to adhere to all health and safety recommendations from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health.

Visit the CDC's website on vaccine effectiveness for more information. 

What is v-safe? (Last updated: 10/13/2021)

V-safe is a cell phone-based system from the CDC that COVID-19 vaccine recipients can use to notify CDC if they develop any side effects. Everyone who gets vaccinated can and should register for v-safe after getting the vaccine.

 


Additional Information and Resources

How can I volunteer?

Where can I find more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Virginia?

See the Virginia Department of Health's COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs.