The Virginia Department of Health is gearing up to potentially offer the Pfizer vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 15 later this week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the vaccine for adolescents as young as 12. All that remains before states can begin administering the vaccine to the younger age group is final recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss that recommendation. 

“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 local Blue Ridge Health District said in a statement following the FDA announcement. “Virginia would not begin offering the vaccine to those 12 and older until the CDC approves doing so.”

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccines have become widely available across Charlottesville. Anyone aged 16 and older may now receive a free vaccine.

The local health district is accepting walk-ins during certain times at its COVID Vaccination Center at the old JCPenney in Fashion Square mall. (The health district tweeted shortly after midnight Tuesday that all walk-in slots were full for the day)

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COVID-19 walk-in clinic locations.

Credit: Courtesy of the Blue Ridge Health District

Several other pharmacies in the area also have the vaccine available for walk-ins. What’s more, the health district is hosting multiple pop up events where vaccines will be distributed at various locations. See attached graphic for details. 

The vaccine is also available at places like Wegmans, Kroger, Giant Foods, Costco and other pharmacies, as well as some family doctors’ offices. Search vaccinefinder.org to find locations with vaccines in stock.

Across the Blue Ridge Health District, nearly 54% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. Forty percent are fully vaccinated.

Just in Charlottesville, those figures are similar, with just over 55% with one dose and 41% full vaccinated.

Albemarle County continues to lead the effort, with 60% receiving at least one dose and 45% fully vaccinated.