Message About COVID-19 Vaccine for Ages 5-11
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) remain committed to utilizing all available public health interventions to create a safer school environment. We are pleased that the authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 provides our community another effective way to keep our children safe and further reduce the impact of the pandemic.
Last evening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director endorsed CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation to adopt the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11. This means that children ages 5-11 are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine, which is about one-third the strength of the adult vaccine, has been studied in this age group and shown to be as safe and effective as it was for older children, and we encourage everyone 5 years of age and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. FCPS and the FCHD have worked collaboratively with the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Inova Children’s Hospital on planning to provide families broad access to vaccinations.
The COVID-19 vaccine authorized for the 5-11 population will soon be widely available in the community. Many pediatricians and family practice offices stand ready to make appointments for families who prefer their child to receive the vaccine in their familiar “medical home.” Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions or need an appointment.
There are multiple opportunities to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the Fairfax Health District. Most sites will be providing vaccines by appointment only. These include:
- Pediatric and Family Medicine Providers: call your doctor to make an appointment.
- Pharmacies, grocery stores, and urgent care facilities: visit www.vaccines.gov (www.vacunas.gov) to search for a vaccine appointment.
- Health Department Vaccination Centers: visit the website to make an appointment, or call 703-324-7404 if you need assistance.
- Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, 22035
- South County Government Center (Gerry Hyland Government Center), 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, 22309
- Tysons Community Vaccination Center, 7950 Tysons Corner Center, Tysons: visit here to make an appointment or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 711). Appointment assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.
- Inova Children’s Vaccination Clinic: visit here to make an appointment for their weekend clinics at the Inova Center for Personalized Health, 8100 Innovation Park Drive, Fairfax.
When looking for an appointment, be sure to search for Pfizer pediatric vaccine since it is the only vaccine currently available for use in children 5-11 years old. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or another adult at all community vaccination sites.
The health department is also working with FCPS on strategies to ensure equity in access to vaccination for families who have difficulty scheduling an appointment for their child or in getting to one of the other community options. Vaccine clinics will be offered in some schools and at community centers during off-school hours in the weeks ahead. Details will be shared as soon as possible.
If you have questions, talk to your child’s healthcare provider, or call the Health Department’s COVID-19 information line at 703-267-3511. There will be enough vaccines for every child who is eligible, however, it is possible that during the first week, certain locations may not have received their full allocation. Appointments should become available starting later this week.
We look forward to working with each of you to ensure the health and well-being of the FCPS community. Thank you for your patience and partnership in ensuring our children are protected from COVID-19 and other vaccine preventable diseases.
Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH Director, Fairfax County Health Department
Scott Brabrand, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools