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Alexandria prepares to move into broader vaccination age range

Vaccination in Alexandria could open up for ages 12 to 15 soon after the Pfizer vaccine recently cleared federal approval.

In a recent update to the City Council, Alexandria Population Health Manager Natalie Talis gave an update on where the city is so far in vaccination efforts and what, including the vaccine age expansion, is ahead.

According to the Alexandria Health Department, the city must receive federal approval before it can authorize administration for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the 12-15 age range.

“As the only vaccine authorized for those under 18, Pfizer’s EUA previously covered ages 16 and older,” the city said. “Providers in Alexandria cannot begin offering the vaccine to those aged 12 to 15 without CDC approval. AHD has been planning for the expansion of vaccine availability to this age group, including coordination with schools and pediatricians.”

In the meantime, as schools get ready to open up, Talis said there are currently no known plans for students under 18 years old to be required to prove that they’ve been vaccinated to get back into school.

That approval was granted yesterday, paving the way for that vaccination effort to begin.

According to Talis, currently over 74,000 Alexandrians have received at least one vaccine, and of those 51,000 are fully vaccinated. Now, with demand starting to go down, Talis said the focus is shifting into outreach.

“Right now we’re going into areas hard hit by COVID,” Talis said.

Talis told the Council a story about one worker who connected with a person who wound up getting his whole community involved in getting vaccinated.

“One worker was outside of a grocery store trying to reach people who have not been vaccinated,” Talis said. “She ended up speaking with one gentleman who only speaks Spanish. He had been vaccinated but his wife hadn’t. He went home, picked up his, wife, and brought her back to the grocery store to book a vaccine appointment even though we were happy to do it over the phone… He has sent us 15 more of his friends, family and neighbors, texting our outreach worker.”

Talis said the city has seen a magnifying effect as people the city reaches out to in face-to-face conversations spread vaccine information to their communities.

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