September 24, 2021: From the Virginia Department of Health:
Virginia welcomes the decision from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support booster shots for certain people who previously received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (read full statement)
We recommend these groups receive a booster this fall (at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series) :
- Ages 65 and older
- Residents in a long-term care setting
- Ages 50-64 with an underlying medical condition.
In addition, these groups may also benefit from a booster this fall (at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series):
- Ages 18-49 with an underlying medical condition
- Ages 18-64 with an increased risk COVID-19 because of where they work or live.
September 7, 2021: Virginia Department of Health recommends that the following people be tested for COVID-19·
- People with symptoms or signs of COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status.
- Most people who have had close contact with someone known or suspected to have COVID-19
o Fully vaccinated people should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms.
o People who are not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately after an exposure and again at 5-7 days following exposure if the first test is negative
o People who tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered, do not need to get tested after exposure as long as they do not have symptoms.
- People who participate in activities that are higher risk for COVID-19 exposure (e.g., travel, attending large events where social distancing is not possible, or being in crowded indoor settings)
- People who have been referred for COVID-19 testing by their healthcare provider or the state/local health department.
- People who plan to travel or who have recently returned from travel with some exceptions for fully vaccinated people
- People who are not fully vaccinated and who plan to visit people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19
While vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect individuals, their family and their community, testing remains an important tool to help identify individuals with illness and monitor trends in COVID-19 infection.
For more information about COVID-19 testing call VDH at (877) 829-4682, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
Joint Statement from HHS Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots
“Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout. For that reason, we conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.
“We have developed a plan to begin offering these booster shots this fall subject to FDA conducting an independent evaluation and determination of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issuing booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence. We are prepared to offer booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose.” Read the full statement at https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0818-covid-19-booster-shots.html
Information provided by the RRHD mid-July 2021 on vaccine availability at health departments:
Update May 6, 2021: Text your zip code to 438829 (“getvax”) to receive a text reply with a list of vaccine site locations that include pharmacies and grocery stores within a 50-mile radius of your location.
Suggestion from the Virginia Department of Health: Remember to save your vaccination card in a safe place. The vaccination card tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.