Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.

703-267-3511
TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H.,
Director of Health

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Updated July 16, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

How do I make an appointment for a vaccine?

Beginning May 13, all individuals in the Fairfax Health District who are 12 or older are eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccine for 12- to 15-Year-Olds.

To schedule an appointment at a Fairfax County Health Department clinic, use the scheduling system: Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).  

Pop-up clinics are also taking place throughout the Fairfax Health District. See times and locations.

You can also use Vaccines.gov to search for locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines and then schedule directly with any provider.

Are walk-in appointments available?

The Government Center vaccination clinic offers first-come, first-served walk-in appointments. Appointments may also still be scheduled ahead of time.  Walk-in hours are:

  • Monday, Thursday: 12 – 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Pop-up clinics are also taking place throughout the Fairfax Health District. See times and locations.

Please note: not all Health Department vaccine sites offer walk-in appointments.

I registered with Fairfax County. What are my options for getting a vaccine appointment?

Everyone who registered on our waitlist before it closed at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, has been contacted to schedule appointments.

Individuals can also schedule an appointment at a Fairfax County Health Department clinic through our scheduling system: Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS)

COVID-19 vaccines are also available from other providers across the county. Use Vaccines.gov to search for locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines and then schedule directly with any provider.

What happens if I registered on the state site during Phase 1 before I was eligible?

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) allowed residents in the state to preregister before they were eligible. However, Fairfax County did not participate in the statewide registration system and Fairfax Health District residents were asked to register with Fairfax County.

Fairfax Health District residents who pre-registered with vaccinate.virginia.gov using a Fairfax Health District zip code are receiving instructions about how to schedule their appointments.

Individuals in noneligible categories who preregistered on the state website were not given priority over individuals who registered with Fairfax County.

I can’t find my registration confirmation email or my appointment schedule email. What should I do?

First, please check your email again, including your spam folder. When you submit your registration form, the email you receive will be from HD COVID Vaccine with an email address of HDCOVIDVaccine@fairfaxcounty.gov

When it is time to schedule an appointment, the email you receive will be from Schedule Appointment with an email address of noreply@fairfaxcounty.gov.  

If you still don’t see an email and would like to speak with somebody about your registration, contact our vaccine call center at 703-324-7404. Call volume remains high. You can also email ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov.  

Can caregivers accompany on an appointment?

Yes. One caregiver is welcome to join on an appointment if assistance is needed. Please note that caregivers will not be offered vaccine. Only those who meet the criteria and have an appointment will be offered vaccine.

Do minors need to be accompanied by an adult to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment??

From VDH:

Anyone in Virginia age 12 or older is eligible for a FREE COVID-19 vaccine. While anyone over 16 can schedule an appointment for a vaccine, it may take some time for an appointment to become available near you.

Minors in the Commonwealth of Virginia may not consent to immunizations to prevent disease. The Commonwealth does allow someone acting “in loco parentis” per:§ 32.1-46, which covers  vaccination in accordance with the Immunization schedule developed by and published by the  Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the  American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Current COVID-19 vaccines have been released under an Emergency Use Authorization. In an effort to maintain consistency with similar approaches to vaccination, a minor may present for  COVID-19 vaccination with either a parent, guardian, or someone standing in loco parentis.

There are some exceptions to this practice. Except for the purposes of sexual sterilization, any minor who is or has been married shall be deemed an adult for the purpose of giving consent to surgical and medical treatment.

For minors getting vaccinated at VDH sponsored or supported community events and health department clinics: The parent or guardian does not have to be present at the time of  vaccination, but someone acting in loco parentis must accompany the minor.

For minors getting vaccinated at VDH sponsored or supported school vaccination events: Clinics occurring during the school day while school is in session and fully staffed do require parental consent but do not require the presence of a parent, guardian, or someone acting in loco parentis.

I've already scheduled my appointment, but I am currently in quarantine. What do I do? 

You will need to wait until your quarantine is over before coming in for your second dose. This action will help prevent you from possibly spreading illness to volunteers and staff working the vaccination clinic. 

In order to reschedule, you will need to cancel 24 hours before your appointment to keep your place in the queue. Go to your appointment confirmation email you received and click the “cancel appointment” link (found near the end of the email). Once you’ve cancelled your appointment, you will receive a cancellation confirmation email which will contain a link to reschedule your appointment. Appointments for second doses are added to the scheduler each week.

While the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.
 

VACCINE ELIGIBILITY IN FAIRFAX HEALTH DISTRICT

Who is currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Virginia?

Beginning May 13, all individuals in the Fairfax Health District who are 12 or older are eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccine for 12- to 15-Year-Olds.

Do you have to be a resident of the Fairfax Health District to access COVID-19 vaccines?

Beginning May 13, all individuals who are 12 or older are eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccine for 12- to 15-Year-Olds.

Can I get vaccinated at a pharmacy?

Residents are encouraged to use Vaccines.gov to search for locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines and then schedule appointments directly with any provider based on the day, time and location that is most convenient for them. Be aware that each provider may have different processes to sign up to get an appointment.

 

How are you informing people that it is their turn to be vaccinated?

The Fairfax County Health Department uses a variety of ways to disseminate information, including: blog posts, website updates, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor), English and Spanish text alerts, a countywide mailing to all homes, flyers, news media (TV, radio, newspapers and blogs), videos in multiple languages, working with our Outreach team in the community, and more.

VAMS & VACCINES.GOV

Can I schedule at one of your clinics without using Vaccine.gov?

Yes. You can search for an appointment date, time and location using the scheduling system we are using: Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS)

We encourage you to create an account so that you can easily manage your appointment and schedule your second dose. You will also be able to download a certificate of your vaccination status after you receive your second dose. All automatically generated emails related to your appointment will come from this system.

You will also need to complete a prevaccination questionnaire before you receive a vaccine. You will be required to answer questions about your health and acknowledge receipt of information about the vaccine. This questionnaire can be completed approximately 24 hours before your appointment in VAMS.

If you need help scheduling, contact our call center at 703-324-7404.

What is Vaccines.gov?

Vaccines.gov is a free, online service where users can search for pharmacies and providers that offer vaccination. Information about where COVID-19 vaccines are available is provided directly by pharmacies and providers, in collaboration with states, and is updated daily. Vaccines.gov is powered by VaccineFinder, in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital.

How does Vaccines.gov work?

Vaccines.gov displays locations that have available doses from approved vaccine providers across the county, including the Health Department, pharmacies, hospitals, and some private practices.

  1. Click the blue Find COVID-19 Vaccine box
  2. If you have a preferred manufacturer due to allergies or other reasons, you can select those manufacturer(s) using the checkboxes above your zip code 
  3. Enter your zip code and select a search radius (the distance you are willing to travel)
  4. Click blue “in stock” circle at location you want to schedule an appointment
  5. You will be redirected to the provider's online scheduling system
  6. Check appointment availability at the provider's locations
  7. Schedule appointment on the day, time and location that is most convenient for you

Why can’t I schedule an appointment on Vaccines.gov or see whether appointments are available?

According to the CDC’s Vaccines.gov webpage, Vaccines.gov only displays information about whether a pharmacy or provider has vaccine in stock. To check appointment availability, you will need to visit that pharmacy or provider page directly. After you enter your zip code and search radius, select the provider and then follow the instructions at the top of the page.

What does it mean if a COVID-19 vaccine is “in stock”?

According to the CDC’s Vaccines.gov webpage, if a pharmacy or provider reports that COVID vaccine is “in stock,” it means the location has reported vaccines are available within the last 72 hours. Follow the links provided by the location to schedule an appointment. Vaccine availability is subject to change.

What does it mean if a COVID-19 vaccine is “out of stock”?

According to the CDC’s Vaccines.gov webpage, if a pharmacy or provider reports that COVID-19 vaccine is “out of stock,” it means the location has reported that vaccine is not available or has not updated vaccine stock status within the last 72 hours. Vaccines.gov is updated every day, so we recommend checking again to find out if the pharmacy or provider has received more vaccine.

Is Vaccines.gov available in languages other than English?

Vaccines.gov is currently available available in English and Spanish. Users can switch languages on their browsers as an alternative.

If you need assistance in another language or are not able to schedule an appointment online at a Fairfax County Health Department clinic, contact our Vaccine Call Center at 703-324-7404.

COVID-19 VACCINE SECOND DOSE

What do I need to know about second doses for Phase 2 of vaccine eligibility?

Virginia’s move to Phase 2 does not impact your ability to receive your second dose within the recommended interval. If you received a first dose through the Fairfax County Health Department, either by registering during Phase 1 or directly scheduling during Phase 2, a second dose has been allocated for you.

How do I schedule my second dose if I received my first dose from Fairfax County, the Tysons CVC, or GMU?

If you received your first dose from a Fairfax County Health Department clinic, the Tysons Community Vaccination Center, or the George Mason University clinic, please schedule your second dose using our scheduling system, Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS)

The Health Department will no longer send an email 4-7 days before someone is due for their second dose prompting them to schedule an appointment. This change allows you to schedule further in advance and offers more flexibility. Individuals who did not schedule their first dose through VAMS have been notified by text message and email about this change.

When scheduling your second dose, please be sure to make your appointment no earlier than the recommended interval (21 days after your first Pfizer vaccination or 28 days after your first Moderna vaccination). You can find the earliest recommended date on the back of your Vaccination Record Card.

If you need assistance scheduling your second dose, please contact our Vaccine Call Center at 703-324-7404.

How do I get my second dose if I received my first dose from a provider other than the Health Department?

If you received a vaccine from a provider in the community or one of our partners, you should receive your second dose from that provider. These providers have their own steps for scheduling second doses. Please contact your provider if you have questions about scheduling.

If you are unable to go to the same provider, you may receive the second dose from another site that provides the same vaccine as your first dose. One option may be to schedule your second dose using our scheduling system, Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).

 

I received my first dose outside of the Fairfax Health District and need my second dose. How do I schedule an appointment?

If you did not receive your first dose locally and you cannot return to the same location where you received your first dose, you can schedule your second dose using our scheduling system, Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).

You can also search for other providers who offer the COVID-19 vaccine using Vaccines.gov.

Do I need a second dose if I received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

If you received a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you will need 2 shots to get the most protection. You should get your second shot even if you had side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor told you not to get it. You are only considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after your second dose.

COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you only need one dose. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you received this vaccine.

When should I get my second dose?

The date on the back of your vaccine card is the earliest recommended date to receive your second dose. It is not an appointment date. If there is no date on the back of your card, please plan for your second dose based on the recommended intervals. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible.

  • The Pfizer vaccine doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart.
  • The Moderna vaccine doses should be given 4 weeks (28 days) apart.

If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be administered up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose.

Please be sure to follow this guidance when you are scheduling your second dose appointment because you may see appointments available that are too early or too late for you.

Do I need to get the same vaccine for the second dose?

Yes. Second doses must be the same vaccine from the same manufacturer as the first dose. 

What is the date on the back of my vaccine card?

When people receive their vaccine at the Health Department, they are given a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, which is just a bit larger than a standard business card. That date on the back of your card is the earliest recommended date to receive your second dose. Depending on the vaccine, this date will be either three weeks (Pfizer-BioNTech) or four weeks (Moderna) later. The date on the back of your vaccination record card is NOT an appointment date.

See Understanding the Dates on Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card for more details.

Vaccine and Registration Data Dashboard

What information is included on the vaccine data dashboard?

The new Vaccine Data Dashboard highlights key indicators of progress and status in the Fairfax Health District, including:

  • Total doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered among Fairfax Health District residents;
  • Aggregate number of doses administered by date of vaccination;
  • Number and proportion of residents who’ve received at least one dose;
  • Number and proportion of residents who are fully vaccinated;
  • Vaccination progress by age group, including among adolescents; and
  • Race and ethnicity data among residents who’ve received at least one dose and scheduled/registered through the Vaccination Administration Management System (VAMS).

Health Department Vaccine Cancellations

How do I cancel my appointment?

Please use the cancellation link contained in your appointment confirmation email to cancel no less than 24 hours before your appointment date.

If you scheduled your appointment using VAMS, you can cancel and/or reschedule your appointment in this system. 

 

What if I am ill and need to cancel?

If you are ill and unable to attend your appointment, you can cancel in the following ways:

  1. Ideally, please cancel no less than 24 hours before your appointment date, using the link contained in your appointment confirmation email. We will send you a new invitation to reschedule via email. If you cannot cancel within 24 hours, please call our call center: 703-324-7404. Our call center will work with you to reschedule your appointment.
  2. If you scheduled your appointment using VAMS, you can cancel and/or reschedule your appointment in this system. 

How do I reschedule my appointment?

To reschedule an appointment, go to the appointment confirmation email that you received and click the “cancel appointment” link (found near the end of the email). Once you’ve cancelled your appointment, you will receive a cancellation confirmation email which will contain a link to reschedule your appointment. You may also the call center to reschedule at 703-324-7404.Please note if you cancel your appointment, you will not be able to hold or reclaim that spot while you to look for an alternative date or location.

If you scheduled your appointment using VAMS, you can cancel and/or reschedule your appointment in this system. 

ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINES

What vaccines are available?

** April 24: CDC and FDA Lift Pause on J&J Vaccine **

There are currently three vaccines that are authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States: 1) Pfizer-BioNTec COVID-19 vaccine 2) Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and 3) Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. All three vaccines are extremely effective at preventing hospitalization or death from COVID-19.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses of the same vaccine from the same manufacturer and it will be important that your second dose match your first dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. You will be provided with a vaccination card indicating the vaccine manufacturer.

The Virginia Department of Health has announced that it will begin offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Fairfax County is currently evaluating how many Johnson & Johnson doses we will receive, how those doses will be given at our clinics, and how much vaccine will be distributed to our health partners. We will provide more information when it is available.

Are the vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines have satisfied the requirements issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Before the FDA grants an EUA, the safety and efficacy of these vaccines were reviewed by FDA scientific staff and by an independent panel of experts convened by the FDA. The CDC and the FDA will continue to monitor individuals who have received the vaccine to ensure there is no evidence of even rare safety issues. The vaccines were tested in large studies to include tens of thousands of people to make sure they met safety standards and protect people of different ages, races, and ethnicities. The study results showed that the vaccines’ benefits outweighed possible risks and provide protection from COVID-19.
COVID-19 can be a severe or fatal disease, even in young, healthy people. The risks from COVID-19 illness are greater than the possible risks from receiving the vaccine, therefore, when you are eligible for vaccination, it is strongly recommended you receive the vaccine. If you have specific questions about whether or not you should receive the vaccine when it is available, please contact your primary care provider.  For general vaccine information you can contact our call center at 703-267-3511.
 

How will authorized COVID-19 vaccines protect me and others?

All three vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The authorized vaccines work differently, but each stimulate an immune response, which produces antibodies. These antibodies protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

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.

What is in the vaccine?

There are three currently available vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer and Moderna’s 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 coronavirus infection. This allows your body to start preparing to fight against the virus even before you are exposed. There is no live virus in the vaccine and it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different technology, but one that has been developed over many years for several vaccines. It is not an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer and Moderna. Instead it is a viral vector vaccine, which uses a harmless adenovirus, one of a family of viruses which causes the common cold, as a vector to deliver instructions, in the form of genetic material (a gene), to make a piece of the coronavirus that stimulates our immune response. The vaccine does not cause infection with either COVID-19 or the virus that is used as the vector. The genetic material delivered by the viral vector does not integrate into a person’s DNA.

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

How is the vaccine administered?

Vaccines currently available will be given by injecting it into the muscle, similar to the flu shot.

The Pfizer-BoiNTech and Moderna vaccines require a second dose which should be administered about three or four weeks after the first dose. Your shot will be recorded on a vaccination card and you will be asked to follow up with a second appointment at the appropriate time. You must receive both doses as scheduled in order to fully benefit from the vaccine’s protection.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine requires only a single dose.

If I have already recovered from COVID-19, do I need the vaccine or am I already protected?

Yes. It is recommended that you should still get the vaccine. Health care providers who had a positive PCR COVID-19 diagnosis in the last three months may consider scheduling a later appointment as data suggests the initial months after recovery may offer protection. It is important to note that regardless of a previous COVID-19 recovery or vaccination, individuals will still need to abide by the same health and safety protocols recommended by the CDC and health department. Read more: CDC’s FAQ about COVID-19 Vaccination.

If I get the vaccine will I need to quarantine for a period of time after receiving 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.

The vaccine information sheet says there is no approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19, what does this mean?

The vaccine is being administered under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). An EUA enables medical products, including vaccines, to be used during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic following rigorous testing and scientific review. For an EUA to be issued for a vaccine, the FDA must determine that the manufacturing process ensures quality and consistency and that the known and potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks. While formal approval is a process that will take additional months to secure, the vaccines have proved safe and effective in large clinical trials and no corners were cut in the development or review of the vaccines. The vaccine fact sheet is a federal document that we are not able to change locally to explain the statement on approval.

Why was use of the J&J vaccine paused?

On April 13, 2021, after six cases of extremely rare but severe cases of blood clots associated with low platelet count were reported in women who had received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, the U.S. CDC and U.S. FDA paused use of the vaccine. This pause allowed the U.S. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to investigate the case reports and assess the safety of the vaccine. 

What did the U.S. CDC and FDA decide after their scientific review of the J&J vaccine?

After an 11-day pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine to review scientific and case data related to extremely rare cases of severe blood clots, the U.S. CDC and FDA authorized providers to resume use of the J&J vaccine on April 23, 2021.

The pause was instituted after reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals following administration of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of thrombosis involving the cerebral venous sinuses, or CVST (large blood vessels in the brain), and other sites in the body (including but not limited to the large blood vessels of the abdomen and the veins of the legs) along with thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet counts. The teams at FDA and CDC also conducted extensive outreach to providers and clinicians to ensure they were made aware of the potential for these adverse events and could properly manage and recognize these events due to the unique treatment required for these blood clots and low platelets, also known as thrombosisthrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

Following their scientific review, U.S. CDC and FDA determined the following:

  • Use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine should be resumed in the United States.
  • The FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
  • The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.
  • At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of TTS occurring is very low, and the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.
  • Health care providers administering the vaccine and vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

Will patients need to sign a consent form before the J&J vaccine can be administered?

The consent form for the J&J vaccine has not changed.

What do you do with leftover vaccine?

We do everything possible to avoid vaccine wastage and have a strategic plan for how to use every dose. If stored in proper cold chain, vials that have not been opened are good for 30 days when refrigerated. Once a vial is opened, it must be used within 6 hours. At the Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination sites, we know how many doses will be dispensed each day since vaccine is distributed by appointment. Currently, we experience very few no-shows at our sites. In addition, vaccinators pull doses from a shared pool of vials throughout the day to ensure that as the end of day nears, they are pulling doses from vials already opened. Our agency’s senior pharmacist provides vaccine management protocols to minimize waste. These are the same vaccination protocols in place for other vaccines that the Health Department distributes widely to the general public every day.

CDC Vaccine FAQ

Syringe

 

Virginia Department of Health FAQ

VA Covid

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