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Walts: Students 12 and up will be 'prioritized' for vaccine appointments at community clinic

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The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in children ages 12 and up on Monday, May 10.

The COVID-19 vaccine received initial approval  Monday for use in children 12 and up, the same day the Prince William Health District announced that “walk-ins are welcome” at its vaccine clinics at the Manassas Mall and at the “community vaccination center” at the former Gander Mountain sporting goods store near Potomac Mills.

Also, the George Mason and Partners Clinic in Manassas Park will accept walk-ins on Tuesday, May 11, and most CVS Pharmacies across the state already began taking walk-ins late last week.

Prince William County schools, meanwhile, have announced the school division will work with the Prince William Health District to prioritize Pfizer vaccines for students age 12 to 17 at the CVC at the old Gander Mountain store once the Pfizer vaccine receives final approval for 12- through 15-year-olds.

Virginia has been planning for the expansion of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to younger residents but will not begin administering it to 12- to 15-year-olds until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives its OK, Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia's vaccination chief, said in a statement Monday night.

Avula noted that the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to meet Wednesday, May 13, to discuss the Food and Drug Administration's decision Monday to approve the vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds and make a recommendation to the CDC.

"Virginia would not begin offering the vaccine to those 12 and older until the CDC approves doing so," Avula's statement said.

Those are the latest developments in local and state efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible against the novel coronavirus, which has so far claimed 10,902 lives in Virginia, including 545 in the Prince William Health District.

Here’s what local residents need to know about getting a COVID-19 vaccine now:

Prince William County Public Schools

The local school division will not be giving shots at schools but will support vaccination efforts by informing parents of their students' options and organizing efforts to prioritize students for registration at the CVC at the old Gander Mountain store once the vaccine receives final approval, Superintendent Steven Walts said during the May 5 school board meeting.

“This includes assistance with transportation for families if needed,” Walts said.

“Vaccination in schools has been discussed but is not something the [Prince William Health District] can immediately implement,” Walts said. 

The use of the current community options will be “the most effective avenue” due to the large number of students 12 years and older, Walts added. 

The health district “will continue to work with PWCS to determine the needs of our students and work to provide vaccination support as needed,” Walts said.

Walk-in options 

Although walk-ins have been taken sporadically in recent weeks at the health district clinics, depending on availability, the clinics are now welcoming them on a regular basis the health district announced Monday.

Hours of operation are still mostly in the daytime, however, and are as follows:

Manassas Mall clinic, 8300 Sudley Road, is currently administering Moderna vaccine, which has been approved only for those 18 and up. Hours are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
  • Thursdays: from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

Mason and Partners Clinic, 99 Adams St. Manassas Park, will have walk-in appointments for Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, May 11, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The CVC at the old Gander Mountain store, 14011 Worth Avenue, Woodbridge, is offering Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for 16- and 17-year-olds.

  • Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Click on virginia.gov to make an appointment.

CVS Pharmacies

CVS Health announced Wednesday, May 5, that is accepting walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccinations at CVS Pharmacy locations across the country, including 342 locations in Virginia, with no appointment necessary. 

Same-day scheduling, including appointments as soon as one hour from time of scheduling, is also available at CVS.com. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduler is updated throughout the day to account for same-day cancellations, CVS said in a news release.

Other pharmacies

COVID-19 vaccine is also available at several other commercial pharmacies, including Walmart, Safeway and Giant stores, as well as in doctor’s offices. 

To make an appointment, visit vaccines.gov .

About 44% of the Prince William County’s population, or 208,728 residents, had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Monday, May 10. The county’s vaccination rate still trails behind that of the state and the rest of Northern Virginia.

Across the state, 47.1% of the population has had at least one dose, while the same is true of 51% of Fairfax County’s population, 51.2% of Arlington’s, 50.4% of Lououn’s and 46.3% of Alexandria’s.

Clarification: This story has been updated to note that Virginia will not begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to 12- though 15-year-olds until the vaccine receives approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a committee of which is scheduled to meet and discuss the matter Wednesday, May 13.

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