COVID-19 Updates Archive - May 2021
May 18, 2021 Update - 4:45 p.m.
Governor Ralph Northam has unveiled the nation’s first public statewide health equity dashboards, providing a snapshot of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and making key data more accessible to Virginia residents.
The two dashboards—Equity in Action and Equity at a Glance—were created by the Virginia Health Equity Leadership Taskforce (ELT) in partnership with several state agencies. The dashboards are being launched as a part of Virginia’s commitment to operationalizing equity, and in response to two key pieces of legislation: House Joint Resolution 537, which declares racism as a public health crisis in the Commonwealth, and Virginia Code Section 2.2-435.12, which requires Virginia’s Chief Diversity Officer to conduct statewide equity assessments.
The Equity-in-Action dashboard is a snapshot of the progress Virginia has made across its COVID-19 response and recovery and other initiatives that advance the equitable distribution of resources and services. The Equity-at-a-Glance dashboard is a transparent assessment of social determinants of health and other factors contributing to health equity. Future versions of these dashboards will include an expanded set of topic areas, such as workforce diversity and criminal justice.
Learn more about the Health Equity Working Group and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
May 17, 2021 Update - 4:30 p.m.
Governor Northam Urges Virginians to Participate in It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action
Coordinated vaccination push to take place Tuesday, May 18
Governor Northam reminds Virginians about the It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action taking place tomorrow, Tuesday, May 18 to help Virginia residents make a plan to get vaccinated. Virginians are encouraged to get involved in their communities by serving as trusted messengers and amplifying the Commonwealth’s vaccination efforts.
To participate in the It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action, Virginians are invited to:
- Get your shot and help others make a plan to get vaccinated. Getting a shot has never been easier—vaccines are readily available at many supermarket pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, local health department clinics and state run Community Vaccination Centers. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov, call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), or text your zip code to GETVAX (428829). Call center representatives are available to from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All Virginia residents ages 12 and over are eligible to get vaccinated.
- Share your vaccination story on social media. Add a Facebook profile photo frame, upload a backdrop to your next virtual meeting and record a short 30-60 second video highlighting why you chose to get vaccinated using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.
- Become a COVID Community Ambassador. Ambassador will help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources with their networks and in their local community. Sign up to become a COVID Community Ambassador.
- Fight misinformation. Do you want to get the facts and counter common vaccine myths? Do you want to better understand COVID-19 vaccines, how they are made and why they work? Do you need help talking to your employees, loved ones or family members about the vaccines? Even if you aren’t a COVID Community Ambassador, you can still share important information with your community by visiting the resource library and downloading the mythbusters toolkit.
Virginians also are encouraged to visit any of the Commonwealth’s Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. to get vaccinated. CVCs will offer both Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and all sites are now taking walk-ups, so no appointment is required. Virginia’s CVCs include:
- Chesterfield: Virginia State University (Multi-Purpose Center), 20809 2nd Avenue, Chesterfield, Virginia 23803
- Prince William County: former Gander Mountain, 14041 Worth Avenue, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192
- Portsmouth: Portsmouth Sportsplex, 1610 Summit Avenue Recreation Center, Portsmouth, Virginia 23704
- Suffolk: Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 East Constance Road, Suffolk, Virginia 23434
- Hampton: Hampton Coliseum, 1000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Virginia 23666
- Fairfax: former Lord & Taylor, 7950 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, Virginia 22102
- Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
- Newport News: 13785 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Virginia 23602
Since March, the Commonwealth has deployed Educate Vaccinate organizers to provide culturally-competent vaccination information and ensure equitable, easy access to vaccines in many communities hit hard by the pandemic. Educate Vaccinate organizers are on the ground in the cities of Richmond, Hampton, Roanoke and Danville and the counties of Prince William, Henrico, Nottoway, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Bland and Wythe.
Virginia has administered over 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63% of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.
May 14, 2021 Update - 4:45 p.m.
Governor Northam Lifts Mask Mandate to Align with CDC Guidance, Announces Virginia to End COVID-19 Mitigation Measures on May 28
Commonwealth has administered nearly 7 million vaccines, 63 percent of Virginia adults have received at least one dose
Governor Ralph Northam has lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Northam also announced that Virginia will ease all distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday, May 28, two weeks earlier than planned. The updates to Virginia’s mask policy are reflected in amendments to Executive Order Seventy-Two and will become effective at midnight tonight along with previously announced changes to mitigation measures.
Governor Northam made the announcement in a new video message.
Virginia is able to take these steps as a result of increasing vaccination rates; dramatically declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and statewide test positivity rate; and revised federal guidelines.
The CDC guidelines state that fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities and in congregate settings. Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments. Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance. Those who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.
The state of emergency in Virginia will remain in place at least through June 30 to provide flexibility for local government and support ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Governor Northam will take executive action to ensure individuals have the option to wear masks up to and after that date. Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.
To encourage all Virginians to take advantage of available COVID-19 vaccines, Governor Northam is inviting Virginians to participate in the “It’s Our Shot, Virginia: Statewide Day of Action” on Tuesday, May 18.
Virginians can take part in the Day of Action by:
- Signing up to be a COVID Community Ambassador. Ambassador will help share COVID-19 updates and materials from top experts and sources with their networks and in their local community. Sign up to become a COVID Community Ambassador.
- Sharing your vaccination story on social media. Add a Facebook profile photo frame, upload a backdrop to your next virtual meeting, or record a short video highlighting why you chose to get vaccinated using the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.
Virginia has administered nearly 7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 4 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, representing over 63 percent of Virginia’s adult population. Governor Northam has said he remains confident the Commonwealth will meet President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.
COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and the percent of positive tests continue to fall throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia is currently reporting a positivity rate of 3.5 percent, which is lower than at any time since the start of the pandemic. The Commonwealth’s seven-day average of new cases is 555, the lowest number in over 10 months. Virginia is currently recording its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations at 684. For additional data on COVID-19 on Virginia and vaccination efforts, please see the Virginia Department of Health’s data dashboards.
Virginians over the age of 12 can schedule a vaccination appointment by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Beginning Monday, May 17, the call center hours will change to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
View the full text of Seventh Amended Executive Order Seventy-Two and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine (PDF), which takes effect on May 15.
The full text of Executive Order Seventy-Nine (PDF), which takes effect on Friday, May 28.
Visit the Forward Virginia webpage for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
May 13, 2021 Update - 11:15 a.m.
State-run Community Vaccination Centers to Begin Offering COVID-19 Vaccine to Adolescents on Friday, May 14
Virginia’s state-run Community Vaccination Clinics (CVCs) will begin offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents aged 12-15 on Friday, following federal approval Wednesday of the vaccine for that age group.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced to providers late Wednesday they could begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved its use. The vaccine previously had been approved for use in those 16 and older. Two other COVID-19 vaccines are available for people 18 and older.
Virginia’s CVCs opened in March and have vaccinated over 323,000 people. They use a combination of vendor-supported solutions as well as the Virginia National Guard, local health district Medical Reserve Corps and volunteer organizations. The following eight CVCs offer walk-in appointments:
- Portsmouth – Sportsplex
- Petersburg – Virginia State University
- Prince William – Gander Mountain
- Suffolk – Hilton Garden Inn
- Fairfax (Tysons) – Tysons Corner Mall
- Virginia Beach – Virginia Beach Convention Center
- Newport News – 13771 Warwick Boulevard in the former Sherwood Shopping Center
- Hampton – Hampton Coliseum
To schedule an appointment at these or other vaccination sites in Virginia, go to vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). The call center hours will change on Monday, May 17, to 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.
At CVCs, adolescents must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian and be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone acting in the place of a guardian to receive a vaccine. Additionally, sites run by the Virginia Department of Health require the parent or guardian verbally confirm a minor’s date of birth; however, other providers may require additional proof of age.
For more information about COVID-19 in Virginia and the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts in the pandemic, visit VDH's COVID-19 in Virginia website.
May 12, 2021 Update - 6:15 p.m.
Virginia to Begin Vaccinating Those Aged 12-15 Following Federal Approval
Two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in adolescents
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that providers across the Commonwealth can begin vaccinating those aged 12-15 following federal approval today of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents. The vaccine previously was approved for use in those aged 16 and older, while two other available vaccines are approved for those 18 and older.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12-15 Wednesday, accepting the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which met earlier in the day to review safety data for the vaccine in this age group. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday amended the vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to include those aged 12-15.
In the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial with about 2,000 participants aged 12-15, the vaccine was found to be 100 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 occurring at least seven days after the second dose. It is typical for a new vaccine to be studied in adults first, and then to gradually include younger age groups.
According to the weekly American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) State-Level Data Report, as of May 6, 2021, over 3.85 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 102,682 cumulative cases in children in Virginia. Children represented 14% of all cases in the U.S., and 15.5% in Virginia.
Administration of the vaccine in adolescents will be the same as in adults: given in two doses, separated by 21 days. Adolescents are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose. Side effects in this age group included pain or redness in the arm where the vaccine is given, fatigue, fever and muscle aches.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only one approved for use in those under 18 years of age, so parents and guardians should ensure that vaccine is offered before scheduling an appointment or attending a walk-in clinic. To schedule an appointment, adolescents and their parents or guardians can:
- Go to vaccinate.virginia.gov and search for locations offering Pfizer-BioNTech
- Call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682)
- Speak with their primary care provider
In most cases, adolescents must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian and be accompanied by a parent, guardian or someone acting in the place of a guardian to receive a vaccine. In a school setting, written consent is required but a parent or guardian is not required to be present. It is recommended that you check with the facility that is offering the vaccination about consent and who needs to accompany the adolescent. Additionally, sites run by the Virginia Department of Health require the parent or guardian verbally confirm a minor’s date of birth; however, other providers may require additional proof of age.
For more information about COVID-19 in Virginia and the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts in the pandemic, visit VDH's COVID-19 in Virginia webpage.
May 12, 2021 Update - 2:30 p.m.
Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Unit to Visit Rockwood and Falling Creek Iron Works Park on Thursday, May 13
No registration required; walk-ups welcome
On Thursday, May 13, a mobile vaccination unit will visit two Chesterfield County parks to provide residents who are 16 years old and older the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The mobile vaccination unit will be at Rockwood Park, located at 3401 Courthouse Road, from 9-11 a.m. and will be at Falling Creek Iron Works Park, located at 6407 Jefferson Davis Hwy, from 1-4 p.m. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered. No registration is required and walk-ups are welcome.
This is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Chesterfield Health District (CHD), Chesterfield County Government and Virginia State University (VSU). The CHD includes the counties of Chesterfield and Powhatan and the city of Colonial Heights.
View the full news release.
May 11, 2021 Update - 9 a.m.
Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula on FDA Authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for those 12 and Older
Virginia to await CDC recommendation before offering vaccine to those 12 and older
On Monday, May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents aged 12 to 15. The EUA previously covered those aged 16 and older.
While this is an exciting first step toward offering this vaccine and its protection to more than 400,000 Virginians, we must await additional federal approval before doing so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is expected to meet Wednesday to discuss today’s action by the FDA and make a recommendation to the CDC whether to approve using this vaccine in adolescents. Virginia would not begin offering the vaccine to those 12 and older until the CDC approves doing so.
We are encouraged by the FDA’s action and its support of the vaccine’s use in those 12 and older. Virginia already has begun planning for the expansion of vaccine availability to this age group, including having discussions with local health districts, school systems, pediatricians and other physicians, and our pharmacy partners.