Vaccine Information for the General Public
Anyone 12 years and older who lives in Virginia is eligible for a FREE COVID-19 vaccine.
On May 12, 2021, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that providers across the Commonwealth can begin vaccinating those aged 12-15 following federal approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents. The vaccine previously was approved for use in those aged 16 and older, while two other available vaccines (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are approved for those 18 and older.
- Now that more vaccine is becoming available, all Virginians are encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.
- Vaccines offer the best form of protection against COVID-19.
- Getting most Virginians vaccinated is the best way to end the pandemic and get back to normal.
- Second dose scheduling with Arlington County Public Health will continue with the same process — people will receive a link to schedule a second dose appointment 4-7 days before you’re eligible.
What does this mean for Arlington?
Individuals 12 years and older can now directly schedule an appointment to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine at Arlington County public health clinics. Arlington County will administer free COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 12-15 years of age who live or are schooled in Arlington beginning on Saturday, May 15.
Visit the Arlington County Public Health Division COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Scheduling page for specific information and details on how to get your vaccine.
The FDA is overseeing the approval process for vaccines. It has released safety and efficacy guidelines for companies working on a vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines under development and in trials must follow the same rigorous safety rules as any other new vaccine.
In addition, the FDA and CDC officials will continue monitoring the safety of vaccines after they are made available to make sure there are no previously detected side effects. Common side effects include pain and swelling n the arm where you got the shot, and fever, chills, tiredness and headache throughout the rest of your body.
If the CDC and FDA identify a problem with a vaccine, the agencies inform health officials, health care providers, and the public. CDC uses several systems to monitor vaccine safety, including V-safe.
V-safe is a new, cell phone-based CDC system that individual COVID-19 vaccine recipients can use to notify CDC if they develop any side effects. Each vaccinated person can and should register for v-safe after receiving the vaccine.
- CDC: What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
- VDH: How will the COVID-19 vaccine’s safety be monitored?
- VDH: How was the COVID-19 vaccine developed, approved and manufactured
- CDC: Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States
Ongoing Mitigation Efforts
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is just one part of the effort to reduce the spread of the virus. Even after you are vaccinated, you will still need to practice these prevention steps:
- Wash your hands
- Wear a face covering
- Keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from others
- Stay home if sick