Students React to Phase 2 of Vaccine Rollout


After a long wait, all Fairfax County residents 16 and older are able to get the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine rollout started in late 2020 with front-line workers and seniors before moving to younger adults with pre-existing conditions to  teenagers with pre-existing conditions. On April 18, Fairfax County entered Phase 2 of the roll-out, which allows teenagers 16 and older to get the Covid-Vaccine.

Many students are looking forward to getting the vaccine. “I’m really glad we’re able to get vaccinated now, because I think it’s a huge step to getting things back to normal,” Cara Omohundro, a junior at West Po, said. “I’m definitely going to get vaccinated, because I believe it will help keep me and others safe, and I want to do my part to help end the pandemic.” 

Many are planning on getting the vaccine as soon as possible. Junior Elizabeth Hardin has already gotten vaccinated since the entrance into Phase 2 on the 18th. Junior Gabi Loza has also gotten the vaccine, she was able to get it earlier because of a pre-existing condition. “I figured for it would be beneficial for my own health to get vaccinated, but also for my family members such as my brother who has asthma and my grandparents, who we see often,” Loza said.

The ability of teenagers to get vaccines may impact the school plan for next year. As people with the vaccine are less likely to get it, though they are just as likely to spread it. “I’m hoping that teenagers getting vaccinated will mean that we can have a normal school year,” Elizabeth Hardin said. If enough children are vaccinated it is possible that more students will be able to get back to something more closely resembling normal school. “I’m hoping that with the vaccine available to teens, more students will be willing and able to get vaccinated, and that will help bring students back into classrooms so that by next school year it’s a much safer environment,” Cara Omohundro said.

To register for the vaccine in Phase 2, people have to go to the VaccineFinder website. They then must enter their zip code and select a search radius. Available appointments will then be listed for them. People can’t make appointments on the VaccineFinder website, they have to go to the pharmacy or clinic they see listed and make the appointment there. In the next few weeks, this will mainly be community providers and pharmacies, but soon appointments in clinics managed by the Fairfax County Health Department will begin to be listed on the website, the state-run Community Vaccination Center can be found on VaccineFinder.

People can schedule a vaccination appointment without using VaccineFinder by using the Vaccine Administration Management. Once creating a VAMS account, they will be able to search for an appointment date. An invitation will be sent by email or text message approximately 45 minutes after submitting the registration form. People should save their account information in case they need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. This website should be used for those who want to get a vaccine at a site run by the Fairfax County Health Department, as those sites are already listed on that website.

Be prepared for possible delays, as the sudden surge of appointments and registrations will far surpass the vaccine supply that has already been fluctuating in Fairfax County. It may result in delays for the new Phase 2 people to get their vaccines, because supply was already low while the County is in Phase 1. However, with patience all teens 16 and older will be vaccinated and we will be one step closer to normalcy.