(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) Fairfax County residents aged 12 to 15 years old can get the Pfizer vaccine starting today.
Last night (May 12), the Virginia Department of Health announced that adolescents in this age range are eligible to get the Pfizer vaccine after federal health officials approved the change earlier in the day.
This morning, the county health department announced on its blog that this expansion of eligibility will include those in the Fairfax Health District, which encompasses the county and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church).
Appointments can be made for this age range by calling 703-324-7404 or by going online to the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System, which is being used to manage county health department clinics and a clinic at George Mason University.
The Tysons Community Vaccination Center at the former Lord & Taylor store in Tysons Corner Center will begin vaccinating 12 to 15 years old starting tomorrow (Friday). The clinic will accept walk-ins, though appointments are highly encouraged.
A parent, guardian, or another adult must accompany anyone under the age of 18 to their appointment or walk-in vaccination at all health department-run sites.
Retail pharmacies are also now offering the Pfizer vaccine to this age group, a county health department spokesperson confirms to Tysons Reporter. Residents can search vaccines.gov, which was previously known as VaccineFinder, to see where doses may be available.
The county also suggests that families contact their physician about availability.
In addition, the health department is working with school systems in the Fairfax Health District to coordinate “strategies” to ensure vaccine access to all students.
“The Health Department is working with the school administrations of Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax-Falls Church Public Schools on strategies to ensure equity in access to vaccination for under-resourced students,” the blog post says. “Parents are encouraged to monitor their email and school announcements for information and updates.”
FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in a joint statement with the health department that more information on the equity vaccine sites should be provided later this month.
In terms of supply, the county anticipates being able to meet demand immediately.
“There remains a large supply of vaccine in our community with numerous vaccine providers unlike in months past,” a county health department spokesperson told Tysons Reporter. “We anticipate a rush, but there are numerous appointment slots to choose from so we don’t expect a lag in terms of meeting demand.”
Based on census data, the county estimates there are nearly 63,000 residents in this age range in the Fairfax Health District.
The administration, side effects, and how long it takes to be fully vaccinated is the same for adolescents as it is for adults. The Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses separated by 21 days, and side effects include pain or redness in the shot location, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches.
Adolescents are also considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose.
Clinical trials for vaccinating kids under the age of 12 remain ongoing.