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. COVID-19 call center hours are Monday–Friday, 9am–7pm.

703-267-3511
TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

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

COVID-19 Third Doses

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free.  Here is what you need to know about additional and booster doses.

What is the difference between an additional dose and a booster dose?

  • An additional dose refers to administration of an another vaccine dose when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series may be insufficient. Studies indicate that some immunocompromised people do not always build the same level of immunity after vaccination the way non-immunocompromised people do and may benefit from an additional dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19.
  • A booster dose refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). 

Additional Doses for People Who are Immunocompromised

An additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after an initial 2-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series should be considered for people with moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments. These conditions and treatments include but are not limited to:

  • Active treatment for a solid tumor and cancers of the blood.
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking medications to suppress the immune system.
  • Receipt of stem cell transplant within the last two years or taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), or other drugs that may suppress the immune system.

The third dose should be administered at least 28 days after the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. 

People 12 years and older can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and individuals 18 years and older can receive the Moderna vaccine.

The third dose should be the same mRNA vaccine as the primary series. The Fairfax County Health Department is supplying only Pfizer vaccine at this time. 

There is not enough information to recommend an additional vaccine dose for people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Learn more: Third Dose Vaccinations Now Available for Individuals Who Are Immunocompromised

 

BOOSTER DOSES FOR CERTAIN POPULATIONS

The CDC has outlined four groups of people who are eligible to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks. 

    Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers as previously detailed by the CDC:*
    • First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
    • Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers

* The CDC could update this list. For the latest information, see Who is Eligible For a COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot? 

Learn more: Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Doses Widely Available in Fairfax Health District

Ready to get your third dose?

Find a location near you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Dose FAQs

No. There is no need for individuals to provide medical documentation or proof. However, clinic staff may ask individuals if they have a moderate or severe immunocompromising condition.

 

Where can I get an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine now? Do I need to bring anything with me? 
Additional doses are available for eligible people from pharmacies, medical providers, hospitals, and the Health Department. Go to vaccines.gov to make an appointment. Individuals seeking a booster dose, are reminded to bring their vaccine card to confirm the date and type of vaccine they received in previous dose(s). 

Walk-in hours are available from the Health Department during the following days/hours:

Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax VA

  • Monday, Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Mt. Vernon District Office, 8350 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria VA

  • Monday, Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Do I need to make an appointment?
Check with your medical provider or pharmacy. Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccine near you.

Walk-ins are welcome to the Fairfax County Government Center clinic and the Mt. Vernon District Office, but appointments are strongly recommended. Get more information.

 

Will the health department provide a third dose of all of the vaccines?
No. At this time, the Fairfax County Health Department can only provide Pfizer vaccinations.

It is recommended that individuals who received the Moderna vaccine from their medical provider or elsewhere, should reach out to their medical provider or visit vaccines.gov to obtain a Moderna third dose.

Currently, there is no CDC recommendation to provide additional Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.

 

I lost my vaccine card. How do I get a new one?

The Virginia Immunization Information System is the registry for immunization history and you can request your replacement card.

If you cannot locate your COVID-19 vaccination record through the portal, please call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. If you would like a record of other vaccinations, you may submit your request online.

Booster FAQs

What is a booster dose?
A “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). 

COVID-19 vaccines are working very well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, with the Delta variant, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. For that reason, the CDC recommends a booster shot so vaccinated people maintain protection over the coming months.

 

When should I get my booster/third dose?
Starting on Tuesday, September 28, booster vaccinations will be available. At this time, only people who received the primary 2-dose series of Pfizer at least 6 months ago are eligible to get a booster. 

 

Where can I get the booster vaccine now? Do I need to bring anything with me? 
Booster doses are available for eligible people from pharmacies, medical providers, hospitals, and the Health Department. Go to vaccines.gov to make an appointment. Individuals seeking a booster dose, are reminded to bring their vaccine card to confirm the date and type of vaccine they received in previous dose(s). 

Walk-in hours are available from the Health Department during the following days/hours:

Government Center, 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax VA

  • Monday, Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Mt. Vernon District Office, 8350 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria VA

  • Monday, Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Do I need to make an appointment?
Check with your medical provider or pharmacy. Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccine near you. Walk-ins are welcome to the Fairfax County Government Center clinic and the Mt. Vernon District Office, but appointments are strongly recommended. Get more information. 

 

What if I received another brand of vaccine?
The recommendations from the CDC and VDH do not include individuals who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines. Anyone who received Moderna or J&J COVID-19 vaccine should not seek an additional booster dose of Pfizer vaccine, and should wait for future recommendations from the CDC and VDH.

 

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?
Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data become available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.

 

If we need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?
No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.

 

What are the risks to getting a booster shot?
So far, reactions reported after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot were similar to that of the 2-shot primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.

 

Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster shot? 
Yes. Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

 

I lost my vaccine card. How do I get a new one?

The Virginia Immunization Information System is the registry for immunization history and you can request your replacement card.

If you cannot locate your COVID-19 vaccination record through the portal, please call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. If you would like a record of other vaccinations, you may submit your request online.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant