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.
- 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.
Visit the Arlington County Public Health Division COVID-19 Vaccine page for specific information and details on how to get your vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccines Authorized or Approved and Recommended for Use
|COVID-19 Vaccine Authorization Summary|
|Vaccines||Ages Approved||Ages Not Yet Approved||Additional Dose Approved for Moderately/Severely Immunocompromised?||Booster Dose Approved (after Primary Series)?|
|Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)
Single dose primary series
||No (Pending FDA, ACIP, CDC approvals)||No (Pending FDA, ACIP, CDC approvals)|
2-dose primary series
||Yes (under FDA EUA on 8/12/2021 and recommended by ACIP/CDC on Aug. 13, 2021)||No (Pending FDA, ACIP, CDC approvals)|
2-dose primary series
||Yes (under FDA EUA on Aug. 12, 2021 and recommended by ACIP/CDC on Aug. 13, 2021)||Yes for specific groups (under FDA EUA on Sep. 22, 2021 and recommended by ACIP/CDC on Sep. 24, 2021) who had their second Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) dose 180 or more days ago (6 months ago) AND are in one or more of the following approved categories:
No for other groups (Pending FDA, ACIP, CDC approvals)
EUA= Emergency Use Authorization; FDA= Food and Drug Administration; ACIP= Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; CDC= Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
*People can talk to their health care provider about whether getting a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot is appropriate for them.
Additional Information and Resources:
- FDA: Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained
- CDC: 8 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program
- CDC: Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
- CDC: Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines
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