Jan. 15 (4:45 p.m.) Update on Vaccine Rollout

Vaccination is occurring across the Fairfax Health District, with the Health Department, Inova and Reston Hospitals working together to get eligible people vaccinated. Here, we take a look at Health Department vaccination efforts and the registration process. 

The Health Department is hosting vaccination clinics to care for the following priority groups. (Information on other priority groups is available on our website, click on “How do I get vaccinated if I’m eligible?”): 
  • Health care personnel not affiliated with hospitals (Phase 1a) 
  • Fairfax Health District residents ages 75+ (Phase 1b) 
  • (Beginning Jan. 18): Fairfax Health District residents ages 65+ (Phase 1b) 
  • (Beginning Jan. 18): Fairfax Health District residents ages 16-64 with a high-risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (Phase 1b). Note the Moderna vaccine is not approved for people under 18 while the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 16 years and above. 

The above groups account for approximately 40% of all our residents over the age of 16, and vaccine demand is far greater than the schedule and vaccine availability at this time. Therefore, it may take months to get through these priority groups. This is why – even if you register for an appointment – it might take some time before you can actually secure a slot and get vaccinated. There are plans to increase options for vaccine in pharmacies and health care provider options, which over time will give people more choices.  

Here is how the Health Department’s current registration process occurs: 

Step 1: Registration opens for a priority group and eligible people can apply for vaccine 
Those eligible can register online or by phone. The registration process collects basic information so we can confirm your eligibility and add you to the appointment queue. After you complete the questionnaire you will see a “thank you” screen. 
People who need assistance with registration, who need to register in another language, or who do not have proper internet access or technology for online appointment scheduling can contact our call center to make an appointment over the phone at 703-324-7404. 

Step 2: You get a confirmation email 
This is just an auto-reply email to let us know we successfully received your registration and will be in touch when an appointment is available. If you do not see a confirmation email within a few days, please either resubmit your form or call us. 

Step 3: Appointment scheduler is released to you via email 
You will receive an email alerting you it is time to schedule your appointment. This email will allow you to select your appointment day, time and location online. Please note: 
  • This email is not automatically generated and it may not immediately appear in your inbox. It might take several days for you to receive something. Please be sure to check your spam folder.  
  • The email will have a unique link to schedule your vaccine appointment. It is important that you use the link provided and do not share it, as sharing might void your appointment. 

Step 4: You receive an email to confirm your appointment 
The email will contain all appointment information – day, time, location – as well as details about how to prepare.  

Step 5: You get vaccinated 
On the scheduled date and time, go to your designated vaccination location. Please wait in your car until you receive a text message asking you to enter the building and register. The Health Department has social distancing health and safety protocols in place, and the text message check-in system helps us maintain healthy traffic flow. If you do not have text capabilities, please let the staff monitoring the parking lots know you have arrived and they will assist you. 
You will then get vaccinated and will need to stay for an additional 15 to 30 minutes in a waiting area while you are monitored for any adverse reactions.  

Step 6: (a few weeks later) It will be time to schedule your second appointment 
You will receive an email to inform you it is time to schedule your second appointment. This email will contain a unique link for you to select your day, time, and appointment location online. Again, do not share this unique link as sharing may void your appointment.  

You will then receive your confirmation and can come back in for your second shot. We are currently using the Moderna vaccine, which requires the second dose at least 28 days after the first one. Soon, we will also be offering Pfizer vaccine, which requires the second dose at least 21 days after the first dose. Other vaccine products may be used in the future, so it is important that you refer to your “CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” when making a second dose appointment to match the manufacturer of your first dose. 

Appointment cancellation 
If you need to cancel your appointment for any reason, please see the link from the confirmation email. This will give you an opportunity to cancel and a new email to reschedule for another date will be sent. After you receive the cancellation email, there are no further steps needed to cancel completely. We do appreciate you cancelling your appointment if you are not able to attend so someone else can be scheduled in that spot.

What do you need to bring? 
On your appointment day, please wear a mask and bring a photo identification – that is it! 

4:30 p.m. Update

My office has heard from many residents with concerns and questions about the vaccine rollout. For many, it has been a very confusing and frustrating week and quite frankly, we don’t have some of the answers that you need. Our biggest challenge is not having enough vaccine right now and not knowing when and what amount is coming from the federal government and the Virginia Department of Health. 

Three things to know:
  • If you are on the expanded Phase 1b list, including residents age 65+, and you call the Fairfax County Health Department to register for the vaccine you can expect a high call volume on Monday, Jan. 18. If you have been told you are eligible for vaccination program of a hospital (e.g., INOVA vaccinations for teachers and child care providers) or by your medical provider, definitely register with that entity. If you are pursuing a vaccine through the Health Department, register through the online process as wait times for registration by phone are expected to be long. 
  • Everyone willing to be vaccinated will be vaccinated. But there are not enough vaccines right now for everyone who is eligible. However, the Health Department staff is steadily working through the registrations. Those eligible for the expanded Phase 1b make up a large portion of our county population and it will take a few months to vaccinate everyone.
  • Please be assured that getting a vaccine to you is the highest priority for our county government employees right now. Hundreds of employees are working around the clock to work on the deployment of the vaccine and to make the process easier and less confusing.

I will do my best to keep you informed and I encourage you to continue following these Hunter Mill District updates. If you know neighbors interested in the updates, please ask them to subscribe via email to huntermill@fairfaxcounty.gov



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