Jun 21

COVID-19 Vaccine Recommended for Children 6 Months Old and Up

Posted on June 21, 2022 at 4:07 PM by Nancy McCormick

Children 6 months of age and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has adopted the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination to include children 6 months to 4 years of age. 

Two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children as young as 6 months old. The CDC and VDH recommend that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine formulation approved for this age group is recommended in multi-dose series depending on the type of vaccine provided:

  • Moderna: Two-dose series administered 4 weeks apart. Previously, this vaccine had been authorized for use in adults 18 years of age and older.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech: Three-dose series with the first two doses administered three weeks apart and a third dose at least two months after the second dose. Previously, this vaccine had been authorized for use in individuals 5 years of age and older.

“This is a significant development in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help protect young children from becoming severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “Children infected with COVID-19 can potentially become very ill, have short- and long-term health conditions, and spread COVID-19 to loved ones, and others at school and in the community.”

Some providers may choose to offer both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, while others may decide only to offer one. Loudoun County health officials encourage parents and guardians to talk to their health care providers for specific information about which vaccine they will be offering as well as about the CDC recommendations.

Where to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under 5

COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 years may be available at some locations as early as today. Parents and guardians of young children have several options for obtaining COVID-19 vaccine in Loudoun County:

  • Pediatric and Family Practice Medical Offices: The best place for children to receive a vaccine is at their pediatrician’s office. Doctors and staff in these offices are accustomed to providing vaccine to very young children and are aware of any medical concerns and other special considerations for this age group.
  • Retail Pharmacies for Age 3 and Older: Pharmacies may be a good option for children 3 and older. Parents and guardians should call first to check availability and the age groups that may be vaccinated in these locations. Pharmacists in Virginia are restricted by law from administering vaccine to children younger than 3 years old.
  • Loudoun County Health Department: Loudoun County is offering COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment only at its Health Department clinic location in Leesburg for those age 6 months and older who are unable to receive vaccine through a pediatrician or pharmacy. Call 703-737-8300 or send an email to the Heath Department for more information.

Vaccine providers can also be found at vaccines.gov. For additional information about COVID-19 visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus

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Jun 17

FDA Approves COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under 5: What Parents Need to Know

Posted on June 17, 2022 at 3:27 PM by Nancy McCormick

Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use authorization (EUA) of two COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old. 

  • For the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA amended the EUA to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 17 years of age. The vaccine had been authorized for use in adults 18 years of age and older. 
  • For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA amended the EUA to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 4 years of age. The vaccine had been authorized for use in individuals 5 years of age and older. 

Here is what parents and guardians should know now about the COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5. 

When will COVID-19 vaccines be available for children under 5? 

COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5 is not yet available. COVID-19 vaccines become available to the public in Loudoun after: (1) the FDA authorizes the vaccine; (2) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccine; and (3) the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) adopts the CDC’s vaccine guidance. 

The COVID-19 vaccine for children age 6 months to 4 years is expected to be recommended by the CDC and adopted by VDH as early as June 21, 2022. 

What should parents and guardians consider in making the decision whether to have young children vaccinated against COVID-19? 

While there is no urgency for healthy children under age 5 to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, it is important to remember that the impact of the disease on individuals varies. Parents and guardians should consult their pediatrician about the COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5, when available. 

Generally, just like adults, children and teens can get very sick from COVID-19, have both short- and long-term health problems and spread COVID-19 to others. There is no way to tell in advance how children or teens will be affected by COVID-19. The CDC and VDH will offer recommendations for parents, guardians and pediatricians to consider. Currently, the CDC recommends that all individuals age 5 and older should get fully vaccinated and receive a booster dose. Children age 12 and over who have underlying medical conditions or who have a weakened immune system are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19; therefore, the CDC currently recommends vaccination and 2 boosters for this population. 

Those without underlying medical conditions can also experience severe illness. The data shows that almost half of children younger than 18 who were hospitalized with COVID-19 had no underlying conditions. 

Where will COVID-19 vaccine be available for young children (age 6 months to 4 years)? 

When the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for children age 6 months to 4 years, vaccines will be available through many pediatricians’ offices and pharmacies. 

Parents and guardians are urged to contact their pediatrician about the vaccine. Pediatricians’ offices are an ideal setting for vaccinating children under age 5 because they are used to providing vaccine to very young children and are aware of any medical concerns and other special considerations for this age group. 

Pharmacies are an excellent option for children age 3 and older. However, current Virginia law restricts pharmacists from administering vaccine to children younger than 3 years old, so parents and guardians should call first to check availability and the age groups that may be vaccinated in these locations based on the provider available at each pharmacy. 

Vaccine providers can be found at vaccines.gov. Once vaccine for children under age 5 is available, the Loudoun Health Department recommends contacting the vaccine provider to verify whether it has the new vaccine formulation for this younger age group in stock. 

Loudoun County will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment only at its Health Department clinic location in Leesburg for those age 6 months and older who are unable to receive vaccine through a pediatrician or pharmacy. A schedule will be determined and shared with the public once confirmed. For safety reasons, Loudoun County is not currently planning on operating a mass vaccination clinic for children under age 5. 

Parents or guardians who have questions about COVID-19 vaccine or have difficulty finding a vaccine may call the Loudoun Health Department at 703-737-8300 or send an email to the Health Department.  

More Information 

More information about COVID-19 vaccine for children age 6 months to 4 years will be posted on Loudoun County’s website, when available. Visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus to learn more. 

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May 20

CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Boosters for 5-to-11-Year-Olds

Posted on May 20, 2022 at 1:34 PM by Nancy McCormick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded the eligibility of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to everyone 5 years of age and older. CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. This follows the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration issued earlier this week.  

The Virginia Department of Health has adopted the CDC guidance and authorizes providers in Virginia to begin administering the booster dose immediately to eligible children. 

In addition, in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, the CDC has strengthened its recommendation that everyone who is eligible should receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after their first dose. This includes those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and anyone 50 and older.

Vaccination Records

With the new CDC guidance for booster doses, it’s important for people to know when they completed their initial series so that they can appropriately time a booster. The dates of the initial series and boosters are on your vaccination card issued at the time of the shots. If you received your shots in Virginia and have misplaced the card, you can find the date by searching for your vaccine record online. If you need assistance over the phone, call 866-375-9795. Assistance is available Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

The Virginia Department of Health has included a scannable QR code on vaccination records. The technology allows anyone vaccinated in Virginia to show proof of vaccination with a digital or printed QR code instead of a paper card. 

Where to Get a Vaccine

Loudoun County health officials continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death. If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, consider getting one. COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at pharmacies in Loudoun County, including CVS, Walgreens, Giant, Wegmans, Harris Teeter, and others. Call your local pharmacy or visit their website to make an appointment. You may also search for available COVID-19 vaccines at vaccines.gov.

More Information

If you have questions or need assistance finding a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, you may call the COVID-19 information line at 703-737-8300, Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Information is also available at loudoun.gov/coronavirus.

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