On Friday, September 17, 2021, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel endorsed COVID-19 booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease. This does not mean, however, that a booster dose is recommended or that Loudoun County can begin offering booster doses.
Following the FDA recommendation, the booster-dose approval process next requires recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and adoption of the CDC recommendations by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Loudoun County cannot offer booster doses until authorized by VDH. The CDC could issue guidance on COVID-19 boosters by the end of this week.
“We certainly recognize that there has been a lot of media coverage about the FDA vote last week and that there may be some confusion over who is eligible for booster doses now,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “Loudoun County will announce when we can begin offering booster doses of Pfizer vaccine; for now, our priority is vaccinating those who have not yet received their first or second dose.”
The CDC has scheduled a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on September 22 and 23. The CDC has indicated its approval is subject to the FDA’s authorization and the ACIP’s recommendation. VDH authorization to begin providing booster doses in Loudoun County may be provided within the next week.
“It’s important to note that even after we have a recommendation for a booster dose, there is no urgency to get the booster,” added Dr. Goodfriend. “Fully vaccinated individuals are still protected against COVID-19 and may get their booster when recommended at their convenience.”
Currently, there is no timeline for recommendations for boosters of the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Who is Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Now?
Currently, Loudoun County continues to offer COVID-19 vaccination appointments for two groups of people:
- Residents who are 12 and older and have not yet received their first and/or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
- Residents who are moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals and are recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
Where Can I Get Vaccinated?
When the time comes to receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, residents may get the shot from any vaccine provider. COVID-19 vaccine is widely available from many providers in the community, such as medical offices and pharmacies including, but not limited to, CVS, Giant Food, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart and Wegmans. Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site near you.
In addition, Loudoun County has resumed offering COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment only at its Dulles Town Center site, located at 21090 Dulles Town Circle in Sterling. Those eligible may make an appointment online. Those who do not have access to the internet may call the Health Department’s information line for assistance: 703-737-8300.
The Health Department strongly encourages everyone also get a flu vaccine this year, which can be provided at the same time as getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials recommend receiving a flu shot as soon as possible. The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar. Being vaccinated against both the flu and COVID-19 helps to guard against both potentially serious diseases. Learn more about the 2021-2022 flu season on the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/flu.
For More Information
More information about the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is posted on the CDC’s website.
Loudoun County encourages everyone to stay informed. Visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus to sign up to receive email and text alerts about the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone with questions may call the Health Department's information line at 703-737-8300 or email the Health Department.
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