En español | Who can get vaccinated now?
- Virginians 65 and older, frontline essential workers and residents aged 16 through 64 years with a high-risk medical condition (Phase 1b)
- Residents and staff of long-term care facilities and health care workers (Phase 1a)
Where can I get vaccinated?
- State vaccine registration: Residents, excluding Fairfax County, can now pre-register online for a COVID-19 vaccination on the Virginia state health department website or call the COVID-19 hotline at 877-829-4682 (8 am to 8 pm daily) for help signing up. Language translation services are available. If you've already registered for a vaccine on a local county health department, you won't need to register again on the statewide system. Fairfax County is not participating in the new statewide registry. Residents there can register on the county website.
- Local health departments and clinics: If you are eligible but have not been notified by your employer or health care provider, use this online locator to find a health department near you. Check Virginia's COVID webpage for regular updates.
- Retail pharmacies: CVS, Safeway, Kroger, Walgreens and Walmart have begun administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible populations at locations throughout the state. You must must register separately at each pharmacy website. You’ll need to create an account with your name and email to get a vaccine through Walmart.
- Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan. Most vaccine sites require you to schedule an appointment online or by phone. Appointments can be very hard to get, as available time slots are booked quickly, and you may experience long wait times on the phone. If a time slot is not available, you may be put on the site’s waiting list. Some people are signing up at multiple sites to increase chances of getting an appointment. Once you have a confirmed appointment, public health officials ask that you don’t schedule or confirm another with any other provider so that vaccine appointments stay open for others. AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. If you are eligible due to an underlying medical condition or comorbidity, you may need a note from your doctor or some other form of proof. If you are eligible on the basis of your work, bring proof of employment such as a pay stub, badge or letter from your employer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment.
Who will be eligible to get vaccinated next?
Virginia's next round of vaccinations, Phase 1c, includes a long list of other frontline essential workers in the food service, mass transportation, higher education, the media, and other industries. State health officials are still working on the next phase of vaccinations, so it's not yet clear when the general public will be eligible.
AARP is fighting for older Americans to be prioritized in getting COVID-19 vaccines because the science has shown that older people are at higher risk of death from the coronavirus.
How are residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities get vaccinated?
Residents and staff of long-term care facilities are being vaccinated through a federal program that has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines on-site at facilities at no cost. Virginia has enrolled in the program.
CVS and Walgreens have finished offering first doses to staff and residents of nursing homes and are in the process of administering second doses. They are also running first-dose clinics at assisted living facilities nationwide.
I’ve heard that some vaccines require a second shot.
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. You should get a card from your provider saying when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails and phone calls.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot.
It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).
According to the Virginia Department of Health, any COVID-19 vaccination fees will be covered by insurance companies or by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Provider Relief Fund. There are already reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?
Yes. Experts need to learn more about the protection the vaccines provide under “real-world conditions,” the CDC says. It could take your body a few weeks to build up immunity after the second dose of a vaccine. And while the Pfizer vaccine is effective at preventing symptoms of COVID-19, it’s not yet clear whether someone who has been vaccinated can still catch the virus and transmit it to others.
The vaccine is just one tool that can help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC says it could take months for the population to build up immunity, and so the agency continues to recommend preventive measures such as face masks and social distancing.
In addition, it’s not yet clear how effective the vaccines are against new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus initially identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, although they would still provide some protection.
This guide was updated on Feb. 27 with more information on Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.
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