Vaccine Access

Age restrictions were in lifted for vaccine eligibility in May 2021. Currently everyone over 12 years of age nationwide is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.

While eligibility is no longer a deterrent, the true measure of success winning the war against COVID-19 is achieving even higher vaccinations rates, to exceed 70% of the population.

A surprising number of Americans responded to early surveys, that they did not intend to get take the vaccine. Known as vaccine hesitancy, many reasons were given. Yet the US Surgeon General identified a major roadblock being misinformation in social media about the vaccine. Other factors contributing to lower vaccine rates in underserved communities are ineffective outreach and limited vaccine sites.

A lack of vaccine equity, combined with hesitancy accounts for disproportionately high virus infections, hospitalization and deaths in underserved black and brown communities.  In Virginia, deaths and infections by ethnicity were highlighted the June Caring Through COVID panel and community conversation, hosted by Fairfax County Health Dept and Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. Illustrating the impact, below is excerpt from presentation by Maani Stewart of Advocates for Citizen Access.

Source: Caring Through COVID-Disparities in Economic Impact, published by Advocates for Citizen Access, June 2021.  Link to full text Disparities in Economic Impact of COVID-19   

According to a July report published in CNN Health, a result of wider vaccine eligibility starting in April, an estimated 280,000 lives were saved by the end of June. The report stated “Covid-19 vaccines saved hundreds of thousands of lives and prevented more than a million hospitalizations in the United States, according to new estimates from researchers at Yale University and the Commonwealth Fund. The researchers compared actual trends in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths against a modeled trajectory of what those trends would have been if there had been no vaccinations. And if vaccinations had progressed at half the pace that they did, about 121,000 more people may have died and more than 450,000 more would have been hospitalized.”


How to report your reactions to vaccination After receiving a vaccination, it’s possible you want to ask the CDC if your body’s response is normal. Use the CDC’s V-Safe Check-in Tool anytime after you receive the first vaccination. Link to: CDC V-Safe Health Check-in

After registering with the CDC’s V-Safe, you’ll receive a text message for you to respond about your vaccination experience, including the date and which vaccine you received. On a regular basis you’ll receive a text message from the CDC for you to report adverse reaction or any concern about the vaccination.

Guidance is updated regularly by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention on it’s COVID-19 website. To access it click link: Centers For Disease Control COVID-19.