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Arlington County Now Offering Vaccine Booster Shots to Eligible Individuals

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) A day after declaring that vaccine booster shots were “not currently available,” Arlington started offering them.

“On Tuesday, August 17, Arlington County Public Health will begin offering an additional, or third, dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) to certain immunocompromised people,” Arlington County announced yesterday in a press release. “This follows FDA’s amended Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and the CDC’s adoption of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation.”

The vaccine booster shots are only available to those who attest that they qualify for them due to being moderately or severely immunocompromised. Those receiving the shots must also have already received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, with the last dose administered at least four weeks ago.

While currently restricted to only certain vulnerable individuals, booster shots are set to become widely available — and encouraged — this fall.

From NBC News:

Top U.S. health officials announced Wednesday that the country has developed a plan to start offering Covid-19 booster shots to all Americans beginning the third week of September, citing evidence that protection is waning not only against hospitalization and death, but also mild and moderate infections, as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread.

Arlington County, meanwhile, has been upgraded to an area of “high” community spread of COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The local transmission rate was deemed “substantial” by the CDC a couple of weeks ago.

As of Tuesday, neighboring Fairfax County and Alexandria were still seeing only “substantial” community transmission, a lower classification than “high,” according to the CDC website.

Arlington is recording about 33 new cases per day, or 14 daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a 7-day moving average published this morning by Virginia Dept. of Health.

More on the booster shots, below, from the Arlington County press release.

People who are immunocompromised should speak to their healthcare provider to help decide if they would benefit from an additional dose. Moderately to severely immunocompromised people include those who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
  • Individuals will be asked to self-attest (confirm) as having a qualifying condition at the time of vaccination.

Bring your vaccination card with you so your provider can fill in the information about your additional dose. Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use and consider taking a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy.

At this time, an additional dose of vaccine is not approved for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or people who are fully vaccinated and not immunocompromised. The FDA and CDC continue to review evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of an additional dose for these individuals.

Arlington County encourages everyone 12 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine, especially those who are immunocompromised or have close contact with immunocompromised persons. Arlington County Public Health Division (ACPHD) will only be offering additional doses for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Walter Reed Community Center clinics; they will not be available at field missions or “pop-up” events at this time.

Free walk-in and scheduled appointments are available at ACPHD’s clinics. Additional opportunities can be found at vaccines.gov; confirm with individual providers the availability of additional, or third, doses.

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