COVID-19 Updates Archive - May 2022
May 24, 2022 Update - 3:15 p.m.
Virginia Department of Health Call Center Changing Hours on May 31
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) today announced that its statewide Vaccinate Virginia Call Center, which is reached at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682), will operate with new hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Tuesday, May 31. The center is currently operating from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
During 2021, the statewide call center handled nearly 1 million calls from Virginians. The number of calls has decreased in 2022 with the fewest daily calls being received from 5 to 6 p.m. The new hours will also better align with call center hours at local health districts. The center will continue to operate Monday through Friday.
Call center operators handle general questions about COVID-19 along with helping people find vaccines and testing or get their QR code with vaccine record. They also handle questions about therapeutics for COVID-19, help with answers about quarantine, isolation and other virus-related topics.
To learn more about COVID-19 in Virginia, visit the VDH COVID-19 page or, for help with frequently asked questions, visit the VDH COVID-19 FAQ page. To find free vaccines, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or contact the call center at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages.
May 20, 2022 Update - 10 a.m.
Statement from Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator Christy Gray on the CDC Expanding Eligibility of COVID-19 Boosters for Children 5–11 Years of Age and Strengthening Recommendation for Second COVID-19 Boosters
Children in Virginia, ages 5–11 years, are now recommended for a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster if they completed their primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine five months ago or more. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has given the green light to providers in the Commonwealth to begin administering the booster dose immediately to eligible children.
On May 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a booster for children, ages 5–11, following the expansion of the pediatric vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier in the week.
The CDC gave the go-ahead to the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine on Nov. 2, 2021. Since then, according to the VDH Vaccine Demographics dashboard, 316,571 children in Virginia, ages 5–11 years, had received at least one dose of vaccine as of May 17, representing 43.7% of the children ages 5–11 years. According to the data, 270,200 Virginia children (37.3%) in this age group are fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Currently, more than 144,606 children in Virginia, who were fully vaccinated as of Dec. 17, 2021, are now eligible for a booster vaccination.
In addition, the CDC strengthened their recommendation that persons 12 years and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 years and older should get a second booster vaccine if it has been four months since their first booster.
The following is a statement from Virginia’s state vaccination coordinator and director of the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Immunization Christy Gray, MPH:
“VDH urges parents to talk to their pediatrician or other healthcare provider about getting their child boosted. Vaccination helps to keep children from getting very sick, developing short- and long-term health problems, and reduce spread to loved ones and communities. COVID-19 cases are rising in Virginia and this is a step parents can take to continue their child’s protection. The best way for parents to protect their children is through vaccination, which we urge parents to consider for their children’s safety and well-being. As COVID-19 cases are rising in Virginia, VDH urges those eligible for a second booster vaccine to talk to their healthcare provider to ensure continued protection against severe illness.”
Those who are unvaccinated and without a booster remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. This population remains VDH’s top priority. Everyone five years or older is eligible to be vaccinated. To find free vaccination opportunities near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish and more than 100 other languages.
May 16, 2022 Update - 1:30 p.m.
Virginia Department of Health to Retire Several COVID-19 Dashboards
Goal is to streamline data presentation, conform to CDC data reporting
On Thursday, May 19, four Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 dashboards will be retired from public view, along with two data landing pages.
These retirements will streamline the dashboards available, align better with the data presentation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and allow focus on actionable data. The dashboards and landing pages that will be retired include the following:
- Cases by Vaccination Status with users directed to the CDC dashboard;
- Federal Vaccine Doses;
- Vaccines Received;
- Cases and Deaths by Date Reported;
- Level of Community Transmission landing page; and
- Locality landing page.
The CDC dashboard is considered the standard when it comes to cases by vaccination status, as the definition of vaccination status is rapidly changing nationwide. To stay in alignment with CDC data and keeping in sync with what other states have done, VDH will link to the CDC dashboard when the Cases by Vaccination Status dashboard is retired. Virginia’s vaccination data is expected to be included in the CDC dashboard this summer, and the dataset also will be archived on the Virginia Open Data Portal.
Reasons for the retirement for the Federal Vaccine Doses and Vaccines Received dashboards include the following: vaccines now are widely available, there is reduced interest in these data and the rate of change is small. The Vaccines Received accompanying dataset will be archived on the Virginia Open Data Portal. There is no accompanying dataset on the Data Portal for the Federal Vaccine Doses dashboard.
The Cases and Deaths by Date Reported dashboard is redundant with the Cases Dashboard and of less interest as date of illness onset and death date are the focus at this time. These changes are in alignment with the changes made in March 2022. There is no accompanying dataset specific to this dashboard on the Virginia Open Data Portal.
VDH also plans to entirely retire the dashboard landing pages for the Level of Community Transmission and Locality dashboards since these were retired in early March 2022. The pages already point to the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels and the VDH Cases dashboards.