COVID Vaccine Information For Virginia Residents

COVID Vaccine Information for Virginia Residents

Updated March 2, 2021 

The Virginia Department of Health (VDOH) recently made some changes to their COVID-19 vaccine distribution approach. Vaccines are now being distributed primarily through public health departments in Virginia. Although Kaiser Permanente is an approved vaccine administrator in Virginia, the amount of vaccine we are currently receiving through this new distribution process is inconsistent and not enough to vaccinate our Kaiser Permanente members in Virginia. Currently, we are only able to provide vaccinations for those Virginia residents who already received their first dose from Kaiser Permanente. We are actively seeking other options for vaccine supply. If we do receive sufficient vaccine supply, we will contact you to schedule your vaccination based on your eligibility. 

All Virginia residents, including members of Kaiser Permanente, should pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine through the statewide pre-registration system launched on Tuesday February 16, 2021. The Virginia Department of Health will contact you through a phone call, text or email when you qualify for an appointment.  You’ll get a confirmation number and the Virginia Department of Health will send weekly updates online.

If you had previously registered through your local health department you do not need to register again on the statewide site.   

Fairfax County has chosen not to participate in the statewide system. If you live in Fairfax County, please pre-register for the vaccine with the county’s department of health.  

If you live in one state and work in a different state:

To understand when you qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine based upon your residency or where you work, please look at the phases for the County where you work and where you reside.

Below is detailed information on how the Commonwealth of Virginia is defining the phases of COVID-19 vaccination. 

What phase is Virginia currently in?

CURRENT PHASE: Virginia has begun Phase 1b. 

Phase 1a (in progress*)

Who qualifies?

  • Healthcare personnel 
  • Residents of long-term care facilities

Phase 1b (in progress*)

Who qualifies?

  • People aged 65 and older
  • People aged 16-64 with underlying medical condition 
  • Frontline essential workers 
  • People living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps 

NEXT PHASE: Phase 1c

Who qualifies?

  • Other essential workers

LATER PHASE: Phase 2

Who qualifies?

  • Virginia residents age 16 and older not included in previous phases

*For more detail on each of these phases, click here. 


For Kaiser Permanente members – Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I get updates on when I can get the vaccine? Should I call or email my doctor’s office or member services? 

Answer: We know our patients have many questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The best way for you to stay up to date on the vaccine is to visit this page often, as well as the website of your local health department. We kindly ask that you do not email your doctor for information about vaccine appointments. If we are able to obtain supply from the state or county health department, we will contact you when you meet the eligibility criteria.

I want to see what my doctor thinks about me receiving the vaccine. 

Answer: Our physicians strongly recommend that all adults receive the vaccine as soon as they qualify and vaccine supply allows.  

If you have a history of allergies, our doctors still recommend you get the vaccine. If you have a history of severe allergic reaction to prior non-COVID-19 immunization or anaphylactic food allergy, our physicians recommend staying for observation 30 minutes after you receive the injection. We urge all adults to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they qualify and supply is available. To learn more about allergies and the COVID vaccine, please click here. The CDC also offers some great information about the COVID vaccine here.

I currently qualify to receive the vaccine, but I haven’t been vaccinated yet. How can I get vaccinated?

Answer: In accordance with directions from the Virginia Department of Health, please use this link to pre-register. Once you pre-register you can check your status at anytime. Those who live in Fairfax County should continue to pre-register on the County’s website

If I receive my COVID-19 vaccine outside Kaiser Permanente, how do I update my medical record?

Answer: Log on to kp.org, click on the “Medical Record,” and then select the “Questionnaires” option. Then click on the questionnaire titled “COVID-19 Immunizations Outside of Kaiser Permanente” and fill out all required fields.

Should pregnant women get the vaccine

Answer: It’s an important question to ask because we want to do everything we can to keep pregnant women and their babies safe and avoid anything that could harm mom and baby. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider pregnant women among the list of people who may be at increased risk for severe illness if they develop COVID-19. This was based on data showing they are likelier than nonpregnant women to be hospitalized, admitted to intensive care units, and receive mechanical ventilation. There is also data suggesting that there may be an increased risk of preterm labor. While the COVID vaccines have not been tested in pregnant women, based on the way they work and because they are not live vaccines, they are expected to be safe and effective. Your personal risk of infection based on your occupation or other medical conditions should also be considered in decision-making. If you are unsure about whether to get vaccinated, a conversation with your clinician may help. More information about the COVID vaccine and pregnancy can be found here on the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology website. You can also read more about the COVID-19 and pregnancy here

Can children get a COVID-19 vaccine? 

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States are approved for children under 16 years of age.   

Can I walk into a Kaiser Permanente medical center without an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Answer: No. COVID-19 vaccines can only be given to those with an appointment.

What is the cost of the vaccine?

Answer: The vaccine is offered at no cost, regardless of where you are vaccinated. If you receive the vaccine outside of Kaiser Permanente, the outside provider may bill Kaiser Permanente; if they do, we will reimburse them.

Can I request a specific vaccine?

Answer: No. Due to limited supply, there won’t be an opportunity to choose among available vaccines. Fortunately, all three vaccines approved for use in the United States have proved effective in clinical trials in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 infections and any side effects of the vaccine were mild and temporary.  Public Health officials emphasize that the best way to protect yourself and to achieve large-scale immunity within our communities is to get vaccinated with any of the three authorized COVID-19 vaccines as soon as you are eligible and there is enough available supply for you to make an appointment. Waiting until you can possibly choose one vaccine over the other puts you at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19 and could contribute to the continuation of this public health crisis.

What are the differences between the three vaccines? 

Answer: The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are messenger RNA vaccines, also called mRNA vaccines. The mRNA vaccines use a small portion of the virus’s genetic make-up to create an immune response. It does not affect your DNA. The J&J/Janssen COVID vaccine uses a harmless, modified version of a cold virus to enter your cells and use their machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This altered virus can’t make you sick, but it triggers an immune response that teaches your body to respond quickly should you become infected with COVID-19.     

If I had the COVID-19 virus, how soon after can I receive the vaccine? 

Answer: You can receive the vaccine once your symptoms have resolved and quarantine has ended. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. 

I just got my flu shot, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine now?

Answer: You cannot receive any vaccine, including the flu shot, in the two weeks before your scheduled COVID-19 vaccine. If you have, please let us know and we will reschedule your appointment. You also need to wait two weeks after your COVID-19 vaccination to receive any additional vaccines.

 

If I miss my second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, do I need to start over? 

Answer: Currently the CDC recommends that if you miss the second dose, you return as quickly as possible to get that 2nd dose. There is no need to start the series over. 

Will the COVID-19 vaccines protect against newer variant strains of the virus?  

Answer: That’s still unknown. According to the CDC, information about the characteristics of these variants is rapidly emerging. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they might spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them. Currently, there is no evidence that these variants, in general, cause more severe illness or increased risk of death.  

How long will the vaccines provide protection from COVID-19 infection? Will it be longer than the natural immunity that comes from contracting COVID-19? 

Answer: The protection someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Since this virus is new, we don’t know how long natural immunity might last.  

Regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, experts won’t know how long immunity lasts until there is more data on how well the vaccine works.   

COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness or putting yourself and others at risk of severe illness and death. 

Will I need a booster dose after I receive my second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine

Answer: The need for and timing of booster doses for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines has not been established. No additional doses beyond the two-dose primary series are recommended at this time. 

For people not covered by Kaiser Permanente insurance:

I am not covered by Kaiser Permanente insurance, but I would like to come to a Kaiser Permanente medical center to be vaccinated. Can I?

Answer: Please call your local health department to learn which sites are available for you to get the vaccine. To find the contact information your local health department, along with more information about getting the vaccine in Virginia, go to the Virginia Department of Health’s website.  

More COVID-19 vaccination resources: 

COVID-19 Vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson

What you need to know to prepare for and expect when you get your COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine: facts and myths 

The impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on your health 

 

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