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As COVID-19 cases drop in Fairfax County, hope emerges for vaccines for kids under 5

Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases over the past 26 weeks, as of June 13, 2022 (via VDH)

After watching adults and teens across the country go through three, sometimes even four rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations, families with young kids may soon see an end to the agonizing wait for a first shot.

Vaccines for kids under 5 developed by Moderna and Pfizer appear to be safe and effective, according to analyses by federal health officials that the Food and Drug Administration released on June 10 and yesterday (Sunday).

Advisory committees for the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to discuss the topic on Wednesday (June 15) and Friday (June 17), respectively. If they give the vaccines the go-ahead, they could become available as early as next week under an operational plan announced by the White House on Thursday (June 9).

That would open up the vaccines to approximately 68,984 kids in the Fairfax Health District who are between 6 months and 5 years old, the Fairfax County Health Department estimates.

County health department spokesperson Lucy Caldwell confirmed the vaccine would be available early next week, if approved.

“There will be little delay between when CDC and VDH recommend vaccination and when vaccine is available in Fairfax County,” Caldwell said. “Vaccinators, including the health department, were able to pre-order vaccine — which will then be shipped with recommendation from CDC and [the Virginia Department of Health]. We have been planning for this next phase for months.”

The news comes as Fairfax County nears the 1 million mark for people who’ve gotten at least one vaccine dose.

According to the Fairfax County Health Department, at least one vaccine dose has been given to 995,498 residents of the Fairfax Health District, which encompasses the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church as well as the county. That amounts to 84.1% of the population, including:

  • 92.8% of people 18 and older
  • 98.9% of 16-17 year olds
  • 94.8% of 12-15 year olds
  • 60.5% of 5-11 year olds

907,014 residents, or 76.6%, are fully vaccinated, including 84.8% of adults. According to the Virginia Department of Health, 518,301 residents — 45% of the population — have gotten a third or booster shot, including 54.4% of adults and 36.3% of adolescents aged 12-17.

All Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases, as of June 13, 2022 (via VDH)

After plateauing over the first week of June, COVID-19 cases are now more clearly trending downward in the Fairfax Health District, though local health officials have noted that the increased use of at-home testing means some cases may go unreported.

With an additional 279 cases reported today (Monday), the district is averaging 429 new cases per day for the past week, bringing the average back to early May levels after peaking for this spring at 601 cases on May 25.

The testing positivity rate has dipped from 18.9% on May 31 to 17.9%, as of June 9, with about 400 fewer people getting tested each day.

According to CDC data, COVID-19 hospitalizations have slightly declined in Fairfax County, with 54 new admissions last week through June 10 — a 32% drop from the previous week. However, the percentage of staffed beds used by Covid patients increased by 0.1% to 4%.

With the county recording 287.14 cases per 100,000 residents, the community COVID-19 level is still classified as “medium.”

Overall, the Fairfax Health District has reported 208,182 cases, 4,582 hospitalizations, and 1,522 deaths during the pandemic. The number of deaths remains unchanged from last week due to a two-week blackout period that started last Monday (June 6) for the CDC to reprocess and recode death certificates.

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