Most Fairfax County vaccinated kids now eligible for Covid booster shots

Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases over the past 26 weeks, as of May 23, 2022 (via VDH)

More than half of the school-aged kids in Fairfax County — 53.6%, to be precise — are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

That means more than 57,000 Fairfax Health District residents aged 5 to 11 have gotten both shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since they became eligible for it in early November, according to the Fairfax County Health Department.

The FCHD confirmed on Friday (May 20) that booster shots are now available for that age group after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee issued a recommendation the previous day.

Kids are eligible for the booster once at least five months have passed since they took the original two-dose regimen, which is the case for most fully vaccinated kids in the district, the county health department says.

“Data showed that side effects from a booster dose for children aged 5-11 years were similar to those seen after the primary series,” the FCHD said. “They were generally mild and could include pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache.”

In general, vaccination demand has leveled out since February, though the nationwide campaign could get another jolt if a vaccine for kids under 5 is finally authorized this summer.

In the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, 992,580 residents have gotten at least one vaccine dose. That is 83.9% of the population, including:

  • 92.6% of people aged 18 and older
  • 98.7% of 16-17 year olds
  • 94.6% of 12-15 year olds
  • 59.8% of 5-11 year olds

903,645 residents — 76.4% of the population — are fully vaccinated, including 84.5% of adults.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, 507,835 county residents, or 44.1%, have gotten a booster shot, including 53.8% of adults and 35% of adolescents aged 12-17.

The FCHD has emphasized the importance of vaccinations and testing for combatting COVID-19, as other protocols like masking and social distancing have largely fallen away, despite an ongoing surge in cases.

The Fairfax Health District’s 17% positivity rate as of May 19 is the highest it has been since Jan. 25.

After recording more than 700 new cases twice last week, the first time daily case counts have reached that level since late January, the Fairfax Health District is averaging 586.7 cases per day for the past week, according to VDH data.

That remains well under the pandemic’s all-time peak of 2,590 cases on Jan. 13, but it’s seven times the number of cases seen in March, when the seven-day average reached a low for the year of 77.1 cases on March 22.

All Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases as of May 23, 2022 (via VDH)

Hospitalizations have ticked up again, as an estimated 79 new COVID-19 patients were admitted last week through Friday, a 60.5% increase over the previous week, according to the CDC. That amounts to 6.9 new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents, and 2.9% of staffed inpatient beds are currently being used by people with Covid.

Fairfax County saw 338.9 new cases per 100,000 residents from May 15 through Saturday (May 21), keeping its COVID-19 community level at “medium.”

With 405 cases added today (Monday), the Fairfax Health District has now reported 197,931 cases, 4,537 hospitalizations, and 1,517 deaths during the pandemic.