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 April 18, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

How do I make an appointment for a vaccine?

Beginning Sunday, April 18, all individuals in the Fairfax Health District who are 16 or older are eligible to directly search for vaccine availability through VaccineFinder.org as Fairfax County moves into Phase 2 with the rest of Virginia.

Please be aware that each provider may have different processes to sign up to get an appointment.

How does VaccineFinder work?

VaccineFinder 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 green 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 green “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

I am unable to find any appointments using VaccineFinder. What should I do?

Providers are required to update their information on VaccineFinder.org each day. Keep checking back regularly to locate an appointment. It is expected that until vaccine supply increases, the number of appointments available will be smaller than the number of individuals interested in getting vaccinated.

I was sent an invitation to schedule an appointment, but none of the available days and times will work for me. What do I do?

Continue to check your link as vaccination appointment days and times are always refreshed. It will not expire. 

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.  

Where are you vaccinating people?

The Health Department is continuing to schedule appointments at several county and partner locations for those who were on our waitlist before it closed at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 17.

Clinics managed by the Health Department and some partners may not be listed on VaccineFinder until late April or early May due to available vaccine supply and the need to finish vaccinating those on our waitlist. 

Accommodations are made for those with mobility and other issues.

How do I make an appointment for a vaccine at a Health Department clinic?

Clinics managed by the Health Department and some of its partners may not be listed on that VaccineFinder until late April or early May due to available vaccine supply and the need to finish vaccinating those on our waitlist.

Everyone who was on our waitlist before it closed at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, is being contacted with instructions for how to schedule appointments.

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??

A parent or other adult (18 years and over) must physically accompany the minor for COVID-19 vaccinations.

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.
 

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, is being contacted to schedule appointments. These individuals can also seek an appointment using vaccinefinder.org.

If you are on our current waitlist but get vaccinated by another provider, please remove yourself from our waitlist.

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.

When will you get more vaccine? 

As the transition to Phase 2 occurs, our demand for vaccine still surpasses a supply that has seen fluctuations across jurisdictions throughout the state and the country. It is anticipated that vaccine supplies will begin to increase throughout the spring and summer.

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.

 

Is VaccineFinder available in languages other than English?

VaccineFinder is not currently available in other languages, but 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.

VACCINE ELIGIBILITY IN FAIRFAX HEALTH DISTRICT

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

Beginning Sunday, April 18, all individuals in the Fairfax Health District who are 16 or older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

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

Beginning Sunday, April 18, all individuals who are 16 or older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Can I get vaccinated at a pharmacy?

Residents are encouraged to use VaccineFinder to 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.

If you are on our current waitlist but get vaccinated by another provider, please remove yourself from our waitlist.

I am over age 65, 16-64 with an underlying health condition or part of an occupational or essential worker group but have not yet registered. Do I need to get in line with everyone in phase 2?

Virginia will continue to prioritize individuals who meet phase 1a, 1b, or 1c eligibility criteria for COVID vaccination. Priority groups can register on the Virginia Department of Health website at vaccinate.virginia.gov.

Fairfax County residents in this queue will receive an invitation to schedule an appointment at local clinics as appointments become available. Invitations will come by email to the email address used to register on the VDH website. Residents who meet phase 1a, 1b, or 1c eligibility criteria can also seek an appointment using VaccineFinder.org.

COVID-19 VACCINE SECOND DOSE

How do I schedule my second appointment for the vaccine?

If you received your first dose with the Fairfax County Health Department or one of its partners, please see the Vaccine Partners page for more information about how to schedule your second dose. 

If you received your first dose locally (VA, MD, and DC) but not through the Fairfax County Health Department, please contact the provider/organization that you received your first dose from to schedule your second dose appointment. E.g., through a Federal Retail Pharmacy Program pharmacy.

If you received your first dose elsewhere (out of state, overseas, etc.), you must call 703-324-7404 so we can evaluate your eligibility and, if appropriate, you will be sent an appointment link to schedule.

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. 

I received my first dose of the vaccine elsewhere (I was out of state, overseas, etc.). Can I schedule my second dose with the Fairfax County Health Department?

If you received your first dose of the vaccine elsewhere, you need to return to that provider to receive your second dose. This is because your original provider has already allocated a second dose for you. The Health Department is only able to provide second doses to people who had their first dose at a Health Department clinic. We receive the number of second doses needed to complete vaccination for people whose first doses were already administered by us.

Do I need to get my second dose exactly 28 days after the first dose?

Persons should not be scheduled to receive the second dose earlier than recommended (i.e., 21 days for Pfizer-BioNTech or 28 days for Moderna). However, second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. Doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated.

The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series. More on the CDC website.

If you received your first dose from the Fairfax County Health Department, you will receive an email invitation with a link to schedule your second dose during an appropriate window based on the date you received your first dose. You can expect this notification at least 4 to 7 days before the dose is due. You do not need to contact the Health Department to schedule your second dose and you do not need to complete the registration form again.

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 REGISTRATION CHECKER

What information do I need to have to check my registration status?

You need the name and email address you used to register. If you registered by phone, you will need to call our call center for registration status: 703-324-7404.

Can I check where I am in the queue?

The registration checker allows you to see which date of registrations we are currently scheduling appointments for. For example, you can see that we are currently scheduling those who registered on “April 8.” So, you can use your registration date to help you see where you are in the queue. Specific queue numbers are not available.

My registration status says that an invitation was sent to schedule my appointment, but I have not received one. What do I do?

Please check your spam folder. If you continue to have issues, please contact our call center who can assist you via phone: 703-324-7404.

I cannot find my registration in the registration checker. What do I do?

Please make sure you spelled the first and last name correctly and you entered the email address that was used during the registration process. If you need assistance, please call our call center at 703-324-7404.

Why am I getting an error message when I enter my information on the status checker?

This could be happening for a couple of reasons. The first is user error – please make sure you are entering your first name, last name and email address exactly as you entered it when you registered. We have seen many entries with extra spaces or letters in these fields.  

Another reason could be due to data cleanup this week. We have identified several issues that were causing problems for users. This includes: 

  • People who selected 75+ as a priority group, but whose actual date of birth is between 65-74.
  • People who signed up between 12:01 a.m. and noon on Jan. 18 who selected 75+ as a priority group, but whose age indicate they belong in the 16-64 with chronic medical conditions category. 
  • Missing records from Jan. 18 and other days where there was a high volume of registrations at one time and some registrations were not fully captured.  

In all of these cases, the data has been automatically corrected and individuals have been placed back in the queue where they originally registered. For errors that affected registrations prior to Jan. 18, those residents have been placed in the Jan. 18 queue.  

If you used the status checker previously and received an error message, please check again now to ensure your data is correct.  

If you still receive an error message 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.  

Vaccine and Registration Data Dashboard

What information is included on the vaccine data dashboard?

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

  • Current registration date now being scheduled for vaccines administered by the Health Department. 
  • Number of people remaining on waitlist and total number registered.
  • Weekly vaccine doses received from the Virginia Department of Health and number vaccinated by Fairfax County updated every Sunday night.
  • Total number of doses received from the Virginia Department of Health since distribution began.
  • Total number of doses administered (first and second doses) by Fairfax County.

Why Does the Number of People Registered on the Dashboard Occasionally Change?

The Health Department is constantly reviewing our waitlist and performing data cleanup to ensure the list is accurate. Sometimes the numbers decline because people on our list have been vaccinated elsewhere and have asked to be removed from our queue. Other times, people are removed due to invalid data entered when they registered (such as entering a date of birth that indicates they are under 16 years old). Please note that nobody will be removed without being contacted first to verify the information was not entered in error.

Periodically, the numbers may rise as we identify issues with registrations not being correctly captured in the system. When this happens, we restore those registrations to the date when the person registered, which affects the numbers shown on the dashboard. That was the case the week of Feb. 22 for approximately 2,800 total registrations.

Health Department Vaccine Cancellations

Can I cancel my vaccine REGISTRATION?

If you would like to be removed from our COVID-19 vaccine registration list (because you have already been vaccinated by another provider or you have reconsidered for any other reason) and don’t already have an appointment scheduled, use this online tool to cancel your registration.

If you already have an appointment scheduled and need to cancel it, use the cancellation link that was provided in your appointment confirmation email no less than 24 hours before your appointment date. If you fail to cancel and are a ‘no show’ you will lose your place in the queue and need to re-register.

See additional FAQs about canceling appointments below. 

How do I cancel my APPPOINTMENT?

Please use the cancellation link contained in your appointment confirmation email to cancel no less than 24 hours before your appointment date. If you fail to cancel and are a ‘no show’ you will lose your place in the queue and need to re-register.

Please see FAQs below If you need to cancel due to weather or illness.

Please see FAQ above if you need to cancel your registration.

How do I reschedule a cancelled appointment?

You will automatically receive a link to reschedule. If you did not cancel 24 hours in advance, you will need to re-register and join the queue at the end.

I registered with the Health Department but I was able to secure vaccine elsewhere. Should I cancel my Health Department appointment? How?

Yes. Please use the link you received in your appointment confirmation email to cancel your appointment at least 24 hours in advance. Or, you can call us to cancel: 703-324-7404. 
 

I missed my appointment but did not cancel it. How do I reschedule?

If you have a scheduled appointment and you do not come to your appointment and do not cancel, you have lost your place in line and must go through registration again. 

Please see FAQs below If you need to cancel due to weather or illness.

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.
  2. 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.
  3. In both scenarios, your place will be preserved in the queue.

I missed my appointment due to illness or weather (i.e. I was unable to drive). I did not cancel. How do I reschedule my appointment?

You must call to reschedule your appointment: 703-324-7404.

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:

  • You will need to cancel 24 hours before your appointment to keep your place in the queue.
  • 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.

ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINES

What vaccines are available?

** April 15: Continued Pause Recommended in Use of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 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.

After I receive the vaccine, will I still need to wear a mask and socially distance?

Yes. The CDC has given clear direction that individuals should still wear masks, stating “it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing masks, washing hands often, and social distancing.” The PPE guidance or isolation protocols should not be changed based on the provider’s or the patient’s vaccination status.

Read more: CDC Issues New Guidance for Fully-Vaccinated People

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.

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

Fairfax Virtual Assistant