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8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Inova COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling

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Inova is Vaccinating All Individuals Age 12+

We invite you to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment using the Inova MyChart Patient Portal. 

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Existing Inova MyChart Users

Already have an Inova MyChart account? See instructions on how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 

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New to Inova MyChart

Don't have an Inova MyChart account yet? Learn how to create your account and then schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

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Children and Teens Age 12-17

Child or teen? See parent/guardian instructions for creating and linking Inova MyChart accounts before you can schedule your child or teen a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 

Learn More

New to Inova MyChart

Inova MyChart is required for all Inova COVID-19 vaccine scheduling.

If you do not have an Inova MyChart account, create a new account

  • To sign up, individuals age 18 or older are asked to provide legal name, address, zip code, date of birth, phone number, and email address.
  • Age 12 or 13, a parent or guardian must complete a child proxy form using their own Inova MyChart account. Learn More
  • Teens age 14-17 must have their own Inova MyChart record and it must be linked to their parent/guardians' account. Learn More
  • The Inova MyChart registration form includes a series of questions provided by “Precise ID powered by Experian,” a third party partner used to help verify your identity.
  • With Inova MyChart being an electronic health record, it is required that we verify your identity to ensure proper care and handling of your sensitive medical information. This does not affect your credit report or rating.

Create Your Inova MyChart Account
Learn How to Set Up an Account for Ages 12 or 13
Learn How to Set Up an Account for Ages 14-17

Vaccines for Children and Teens 12-17

Inova MyChart for Age 12 or 13

In order to schedule a vaccination appointment for anyone 14 or 17:

  1. A parent/guardian must first have their own Inova MyChart account. Please sign up for Inova MyChart and then follow the instructions below.
  2. Once a Parent/Guardian has an Inova MyChart account, they must complete the electronic child proxy form to request to access a Minor's Record at Inova.
  3. The Inova Medical Records team will process your proxy request within 48 business hours, Monday – Friday. Requests are not processed on the weekend.
  4. The parent/guardian will receive an email response to their proxy request once it has been granted.
  5. The parent/guardian should then log into their own Inova MyChart account and in the upper right corner and select the option to switch to their child’s account. 
  6. The parent/guardian can now schedule the vaccine appointment for the child.

Additionally, Inova requires that all minors be accompanied by a parent/guardian at the vaccination clinic on the day of the scheduled appointment to provide consent for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Inova MyChart for Age 14-17

In order to schedule a vaccination appointment for anyone 14-17:

  1. A parent/guardian must first have their own Inova MyChart account. Please sign up for Inova MyChart and then follow the instructions below.
  2. Once a Parent/Guardian has an Inova MyChart account, they must complete the permission form allowing the teen to have their own Inova MyChart account. You must provide your teen's personal email address to establish their account. 
  3. The Inova Medical Records team will email an activation link to the teen's email address to set up their account within 48 business hours, Monday – Friday. Requests are not processed on the weekend.  
  4. Once the activation link has been received by the teen, the teen's Inova MyChart account can be created. 
  5. Once created, the teen must then grant the parent/guardian permission to link their medical records. This is called Teen Proxy Access.  
  6. Teen Proxy Access Steps include:
     
    • While logged into the teen's account, go to the Inova MyChart Menu in the upper left corner of Inova MyChart.
    • Select Share My Record
    • Select Friends and Family
    • Click Invite Someone 
    • Enter the name and the email address of the parent/guardian who granted the teen permission.
    • Specify the kind of access you would like them to have (e.g. Adult Access)
    • Read and Agree to Terms and Conditions
    • Click Send Invite
  7.  The parent/guardian will receive an email invitation to link the two accounts.
  8. The parent should accept the invite to link the accounts. 
  9. The parent/guardian should then log into their own Inova MyChart account and in the upper right corner, select the option to switch to their teens account
  10. The parent/guardian can now schedule the vaccine appointment for the teen.

Additionally, Inova requires that all minors be accompanied by a parent/guardian at the vaccination clinic on the day of the scheduled appointment to provide consent for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Preparing for your Child's Vaccine

What to Expect

Inova MyChart Scheduling Steps

  1. Login into your Inova MyChart account
  2. Click on "Inova COVID-19 Vaccination Center" either at the top of the MyChart page or under Menu
  3. Read the "What to Expect" instructions; click Accept to continue
  4. Select Dose 1 or 2; click Continue
  5. Answer the questions relating to pre-registration and your county residence.
  6. Click Schedule appointment
  7. Select a time from the schedule
  8. Verify your personal information; click Continue
  9. Verify your insurance (see FAQ about insurance)
  10. Verify that everything is correct
  11. Click the yellow Schedule button
  12. Complete your eCheck-in 
    • Verify your personal information, click Next
    • Review and sign the IHS COVID-19 Vaccine Consent Form; click Next
    • Verify or add your insurance (see FAQ about insurance)

Inova MyChart Setup and Scheduling Frequently Asked Questions

Inova COVID-19 Vaccination Center Location Information

Inova Stonebridge COVID-19 Vaccination Center

5001 Eisenhower Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22304
(also known as “Victory Center”)
Map and Directions

Appointments: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Metro: Van Dorn Station (Blue Line) – half mile walk

DASH Bus: Bus routes AT5 and AT7 stop in front of the Center

Parking: Follow the BLUE signs for the Vaccination Center Parking, located on the east side of the building. When looking at the Vaccination Center building, the blue/east lot is on your right. Please note, the red/west parking lot is for COVID-19 testing appointments only. 

ADA parking is available and patients needing assistance may be dropped off and picked up in front of the building. 

Need Help Getting to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment?

Fairfax County provides free rides via taxi companies to anyone with a vaccine appointment who does not have access to their own transportation. To schedule vaccine transportation, call the Fairfax County Health Department Vaccine Call Center at 703-324-7404, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Provide your name, phone number, date and time of your vaccine appointment, appointment address, and your home address. Once the call center confirms your eligibility, they will contact the Human Services Transportation team to arrange transportation.

Taxi Voucher Program

For older adults, people on limited incomes, or individuals with disabilities the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services offers a subsidized taxi voucher program.

Learn more about the Taxi Voucher Program
Learn about more options for getting to and from your COVID-19 appointment

Important Information for the Day of Your Appointment

Arrival Information

  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive within the past 10 days, or are currently in quarantine because of an exposure to COVID-19, please reschedule your appointment for a later date.
  • Family members, children, guests, etc. are not allowed inside the Center unless needed to provide support.
  • Inova requires that all minors be accompanied by a parent/guardian at the vaccination clinic to provide consent for the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Immediately following your first dose vaccination, you will receive an email notification titled "You have a new COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling Ticket" from Inova MyChart letting you know when it is time to schedule your second appointment.
  • There may be times when the line extends outdoors. Please dress accordingly.

Required Documents and Identification

  • Printed or electronic copy of your appointment confirmation.
  • White CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card you received after getting your first dose of the vaccine.
  • Personal identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)

COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Questions about MyChart

Why is Inova using MyChart?

For vaccine patients, using MyChart allows you to make same-day appointments or reschedule if necessary, set reminder notices, check-in electronically prior to your appointment, and have your vaccination connected to your other health records if you already are an Inova patient.

For Inova, use of MyChart allows us to better manage appointments and our vaccine supply. For example, we can use the system to balance first and second dose appointments on any given day so we can administer vaccine more efficiently and effectively. In the first week of using MyChart for vaccine scheduling we were able to provide 20% more first dose shots by converting unused second dose appointments thanks to MyChart’s data management and same-day scheduling features. Further, use of this electronic health record provides more accurate and complete data to share with our health department partners and the Commonwealth of Virginia as required for reporting on vaccine distribution.

Why am I being asked to provide the last four digits of my Social Security number?

This is not a required field. The standard online form asks you to provide the last four digits of our Social Security number as just one option as part of the registration and identity verification process.

Why am I being asked questions by Experian? Does this involve or affect my credit rating?

Registering for MyChart does not involve or affect your credit rating. The MyChart registration form includes a series of questions provided by “Precise ID powered by Experian,” a third party partner used to help verify your identity. With MyChart being an electronic health record, it is imperative that we verify your identity to ensure proper care and handling of your sensitive medical information. Please answer the series of questions to proceed to the next portion of the registration page. If for some reason we are not able to verify your identity, the page will prompt you with instructions to contact the MyChart team so that we may further assist you in registering and then scheduling your appointment.

Why am I being asked to provide insurance information? Isn’t the vaccine free?

As part of the electronic check-in process prior to your appointment, you will be asked to provide insurance information. If you are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine through Inova, there will be no out-of-pocket cost to you. Inova will be collecting insurance information from those who have insurance and will work with insurance plans to cover allowed charges for vaccine administration. If an insurance plan does not cover charges, Inova will not pursue payment from the patient. Lack of insurance will not prevent you from scheduling a vaccine appointment. Please just select the appropriate response indicating you do not have insurance.

If I am experiencing difficulty registering for MyChart, can I have a family member assist me?

Yes, if you would feel more comfortable having a family member, or even a trusted friend, assist you in the online registration process, you are welcome to authorize someone to do so. However, the individual must enter only your information, not their own. If the information does not correspond with your personal information, we may be unable to verify your identify and the MyChart and scheduling process could fail.

How do I schedule my second dose?

  • Immediately following your first dose vaccination, you will receive an email notification titled "You have a new COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling Ticket" from Inova MyChart letting you know when it is time to schedule your second appointment.
  • You will be due for your 2nd dose vaccine a minimum of 17 days from the day after your first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. You will be turned away if you show up for a vaccine prior to that.  
  • Although it is optimal to receive the second dose as close as possible to the recommended interval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. The vaccine series does not need to be restarted even if the second dose is administered late.

I forgot my Inova MyChart ID and/or password.

If you forgot your Inova MyChart ID and/or password please select the appropriate action under the “sign in” button on the MyChart login page to reset your account.

Still having MyChart technical issues?

If you run into issues, contact 1-855-MYINOVA and select option #1. 

You will not be able to schedule an appointment using this number.

About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Background

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Since December 2019 when the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Wuhan, China, SARS-CoV-2 virus, has spread around the world. To date, in the United States, there have been a reported over 25 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths (with numbers still rising). To put this in context, the case fatality rate (number of people who have a disease and then die due to the disease) is 3.1% for COVID-19 while it is only 0.1% for the flu.

Granted, many more people survive than die from COVID-19 infection, but there are other health conditions that can develop as part of COVID-19 infection or subsequent to COVID-19 infection including heart, lung, brain and nerve problems, kidney injury, and whole body inflammation syndromes which occur in both adults and children. There are also longer term problems that we are just beginning to unravel including persistent symptoms after COVID-19.

While there are still many unknowns about COVID-19, we have learned a lot in the year since the pandemic began and have developed new treatments and now vaccines to fight back against COVID-19.

In December 2020, the FDA authorized two vaccines for emergency use. The first doses manufactured by Pfizer-BIONTECH rolled out to hospitals on Dec. 14, 2020. Since then, Inova has given more than 100,000 shots to healthcare workers throughout the Washington, DC region, and will now assist in vaccinating the local community based on the CDC guidelines.

However, despite this success, some people still may have concerns about being vaccinated. We understand that in order to stop the rapid spread of this infection, people need to be protected against it. The best way to be protected against an infection is immunization. It is estimated that about 80% of the human population will need to be protected in order to stop the pandemic.

Many people still have questions about the vaccine including questions about the development of the vaccine, its safety and efficacy, side effects and its impact on those with certain health conditions. Below, we answer many of these questions and provide links to resources for more information. If you still have questions, it is best to discuss these with your primary care doctor.

Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

The COVID-19 vaccine helps protect you from getting sick, and is very likely to limit your ability to spread the virus. This will also help protect those around you in your community – your family, friends and neighbors – who may not be able to be vaccinated because of their age or certain health conditions.

one person's COVID vaccine helps protect the whole community, including those who can't get vaccinated

Is there anyone who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Only people with a history of severe allergic reactions (e.g. anaphylaxis) to an ingredient in the vaccine should not get the vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about getting the vaccine. For pregnant women or women trying to conceive, the CDC says there is no reason pregnant or lactating women should not receive the vaccine.

Carefully review the information below and discuss with your practitioner if you are unsure:

Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding (CDC)

Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19 (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine even if I've already had COVID-19?

Currently, it is recommended that you still get the vaccine even if you previously had COVID-19, but please contact your primary care provider if you have questions. It is important to note that regardless of a previous COVID-19 recovery or vaccination, individuals will still need to abide by the same health and safety protocols recommended by the CDC and Virginia Department of Health to help prevent ongoing spread.

Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, you cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine does not use the virus like the flu shot. It helps your body build its own defense against the SARS-CoV-2 virus by using a synthetic form of the virus’s spike protein code called messenger RNA (mRNA).

The mRNA primes your immune system to recognize and respond to the virus spike protein. It teaches your immune system to recognize the virus as “foreign” and fight to block its spread. It uses mRNA to start the process and help remember the virus spike protein so it can get a quick start in fighting it off. The mRNA does not change anything in your cells.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause a false positive COVID-19 test?

The vaccine has no effect on the viral tests (PCR or antigen based nasal/oral swabs) used to diagnose COVID-19. For tests that are not used to diagnose active COVID-19 disease, like tests for antibodies in your blood, it will appropriately cause some of these to become positive.

How soon after vaccination will I be safe from getting COVID-19 infection?

The current vaccination process requires two shots to be sure you are capable of successfully fighting off the virus. After the first injection, there may be some immunity, but you will need the second to achieve a high level of protection. After your second shot, the immune system is fully activated to fight the virus approximately one to two weeks afterwards.

Please remember, until your immune system has been fully activated (has enough information to fight of the SARS-CoV2 infection) which happens after your second dose of the vaccine, you can still catch COVID-19. The more people who are vaccinated, the more quickly we can achieve herd immunity (which means 80% of people are vaccinated against COVID-19) and get back to “normal”, but until then we need to continue to wear a mask, wash our hands frequently, and socially distance even after our second shot.

Did the government cut corners to get the vaccine out so fast?

No. Research using mRNA in a vaccine has been ongoing since the 1990s.

The vaccines being given at Inova were tested in more than 70,000 people worldwide. Everyone who receives the vaccine is being monitored afterwards, so if there are any problems, they can be addressed immediately. Inova has seen minimal side effects in the 100,000+ doses we have administered so far.

Were all races and ethnicities well represented in these vaccine trials?

Yes. Inova is administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and all races and ethnicities were included in their trials. The demographic breakdown was similar to the general population of the United States.

Vaccine Side Effects

I heard the side effects from the vaccine can make me really sick. Is this true?

Most of the reported side effects (soreness at the site of injection, mild headache, body aches, low fever or chills) have been reported as mild to moderate and occur about 12-24 hours after the shot, and last no more than seven days (most are only for 24-48 hours). The second dose often produces more of these symptoms so it is suggested that you plan your work schedule around your second dose so that you can consider taking the day off after receiving the second dose of vaccine.

Remember, if you develop side effects, this is not a bad thing, it just means your immune system is working well. If you don’t develop side effects, this doesn’t mean that your immune system isn’t working, it just means our bodies react differently when we get the vaccine.

I am worried about having an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Should I be worried?

No, the rate of allergic reaction is very low. If you have ever experienced a severe allergic reaction to another vaccine (such as anaphylaxis), you should inform the person administering your vaccine. After you receive your shot, you will be asked to wait for 15-30 minutes after getting the vaccine to make sure you are feeling well. The waiting area is staffed with medical professionals who are there to help you if there are any concerns.

What am I supposed to do if I have side effects?

Everyone who gets the vaccine is asked to sign up for V-Safe, a program run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help track side effects. V-Safe will deliver a text message to you every day for about one week after you get the vaccine to check in to see how you are doing. If the responses you submit to V-safe are concerning, a representative from the CDC will call you to ask more questions. If you are experiencing mild side effects, you can take medication that you normally may take when you have a headache or body aches such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You also can contact your primary care physician who can help you with any questions you may have.

It is important to recognize that shortness of breath, cough, loss of taste, and loss of smell are not vaccine side effects and should prompt a phone call to your physician.

How do I tell the difference between vaccine side effects and COVID-19?

These may be similar, in that both may be associated with fever, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue. The vaccine side effects are usually mild and last 36 hours or less. However, if you are concerned and or if your symptoms persist, contact your primary care provider for their advice on next steps.

The vaccines do not cause sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, or lack of taste/smell. If you develop any of these symptoms and have concerns about possible COVID-19 infection, you should talk to you healthcare professional.

Can I take antipyretic or analgesic medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen prior to vaccination?

It is not recommended to take prophylactic medications such as Advil or Tylenol for the purpose of preventing symptoms due to lack of information on the effect of antibody response. However, you may take these medications after vaccination to treat post-vaccination symptoms if they occur.

Vaccines & Protection from COVID-19

How protected am I between the first and second shot?

You will have some immunity about 10 days after the first shot. This is not adequate to protect you from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus but you may experience a milder illness. People over 65 years of age may have less protection than younger people during the interval between the first and second shots. It is important to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and for now, you must continue to demonstrate safety precautions including masking, social distancing and hand hygiene to protect yourself and others who have not been or are not able to be vaccinated due to age or medical condition.

If I catch COVID-19 after being vaccinated will the symptoms likely be milder?

Yes. The vaccine is designed to prevent symptomatic and serious disease.

What happens if I don’t get my second shot or I am late getting my second shot?

It is important to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and you should try to get the second dose within the window you were told when you got your first shot. However, being a few days late in getting your second shot should not be concerning. It is important to get the entire vaccine series to provide protection against COVID-19. Right now, one dose of the vaccine is not enough to provide full protection.

I have heard the vaccines may not work against the new COVID-19 variants, is this true?

Currently, the vaccines still protect against the new virus variants (mutants). The changing of the virus is expected, as this is what viruses do, so it is best to get your vaccine when it is your turn. In order to stop the coronavirus from mutating, we need to stop it from infecting people and the best way to do that is to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Can I get other vaccinations (for example: shingles vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, flu vaccine) at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccination?

It is currently recommended that both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination be given either two weeks before or two weeks after any other vaccinations.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Teens

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?

The data we have seen make us confident that the vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are safe for the ages included in the authorization. The The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19  vaccine is authorized for use in people 12 and older. Most new medicines and vaccines are studied in adults first, so the first authorization for the vaccine didn’t include children under 16, but this most recent study did. 

Very rarely, people have had allergic reactions to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (estimated to be less than 2-4 people per million). This reaction can be treated.

What to Do if You Have an Allergic Reaction After Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine

Are there side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

In adults and older children, the most common symptoms after getting vaccinated are a mild-to-moderate headache, muscle aches or fatigue and sometimes a low fever. These usually don’t last more than one to three days.  The side effect rates appear to be similar between young adults and older children.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective in children?

Yes, the rate of effectiveness has been reported between 95-100% in adults and adolescents in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection. 

Where can my child get the vaccine?

Inova Stonebridge COVID-19 Vaccination Center, located at 5001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304. See Inova.org/COVID vaccine for appointment and registration information. At this time, we are not accepting walk-in patients. Anyone over the age of 12 can receive the vaccine at the Inova Stonebridge site and we encourage all family members to do so.

Map & Directions

How many doses will my child need?

The Pfizer vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose approximately three weeks after the first.

How much will the vaccine cost me?

The vaccine does not cost you any money. A vaccine administration fee may be charged to your insurance company. Inova will not bill you directly for this.

Will the vaccine affect my child’s future fertility?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccine affects fertility. Women undergoing fertility treatment or planning to get pregnant should be encouraged to receive vaccination if they are eligible. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.

Should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are currently sick with COVID-19?

No. People with COVID-19 can get the vaccine after they are feeling better and meet the criteria to stop isolation. Read the CDC’s guidelines on when you can be around others after having COVID-19.

If your child had COVID-19 and had monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma treatments, they should wait 90 days to get the vaccine. Talk with your child’s doctor about when your child should receive the vaccine.

When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

My child has already had COVID-19. Do they still need the vaccine?

Yes. Your child should get the vaccine even if they have already had COVID-19. Even though having had COVID-19 may provide some protection from getting sick again, we do not know how long that protection will last.

My child is scared of needles. What does Inova offer for pain management? How is Inova making the vaccine experience kid-friendly?

Inova’s Certified Child Life Specialists are integral in making the vaccination experience as anxiety-and pain-free as possible. We have pain management tools on site, like Buzzy and Shotblocker, to help reduce discomfort associated with vaccine administration. We also have videos on our website and social media channels to help you prepare your child or teen for the best possible experience. When you arrive to check in, please alert the staff if your child may need a quiet space or additional distraction. You can also reach out to the child life department if you have specific questions about making the vaccine the best possible experience. 

Contact Inova's Child Life Specialists

COVID Vaccine & Pregnancy

I am pregnant. Am I eligible for the vaccine?

Pregnancy is considered a high-risk health condition according to the CDC and falls in the 1b phase for eligibility. Please check here for your county’s phase eligibility.

We want to start a family. I heard the vaccine can possibly hurt our chances or hurt the baby. Is this true?

Women undergoing fertility treatment or planning to get pregnant should be encouraged to receive vaccination if they are eligible. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.

I am pregnant, and I am afraid the vaccine will hurt my baby. Can this happen?

Currently, there are limited data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. Speak with your healthcare provider to help you make an informed decision. However, based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to cause harm to women who are pregnant or to the fetus.

The CDC, American College of OB-GYN, and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine all state that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals, those planning to get pregnant, or those on fertility treatments who are otherwise eligible for vaccination. To date, the CDC is monitoring approximately 15,000 pregnant women who have received the COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more: Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19

Note: Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk for severe illness, including death, than age-matched controls.

COVID Vaccine & Surgery

Is it safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before a surgical procedure? If so, is there an ideal timeframe?

Yes it is safe to receive the vaccine before a surgical procedure. If the timing of the procedure is flexible then it is recommended to schedule the procedure at least 3 days but no more than a week after a vaccine dose. This guidance is given so that any symptoms such as a fever can be correctly attributed to the side effects of either vaccination or the operation/procedure itself.

How soon after my surgery/procedure can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine should be scheduled at least three days after your procedure to allow for any symptoms that may develop, including a fever, to be correctly attributed to the procedure or the vaccine.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine impact my surgical procedure? Will the vaccine ingredients interact with anesthesia or any other medications?

No, the vaccine will not impact your procedure and appropriate COVID-19 precautions will still be followed regardless of vaccination status. The components of the vaccine should have no impact on the anesthesia or any medications used in relation to your surgical procedure.

Should I postpone my COVID-19 vaccine to after my surgical procedure? If so, how long should I wait?

We do not recommend postponing vaccination unless it would not be feasible to receive it due to the timing of the procedure or expected procedural recovery. Speak with your surgeon for more information. However, as noted above, it would be advisable to space your surgery date and vaccination date by at least 3 days to allow for the proper assignment of any symptoms that may arise such as fever to either the surgery or the vaccination.

Am I required to schedule a COVID-19 test before my surgical procedure if I received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Currently, Inova requires a COVID-19 test before some surgeries and procedures. We will continue this requirement until we know more about asymptomatic spread after vaccination.

Am I required to schedule a COVID-19 test before my surgical procedure if I was previously diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within the previous 90 days, you do not need another COVID-19 test before elective surgery.

The timing of elective surgery after recovery from COVID-19 utilizes both symptom and severity-based categories. Suggested wait times from the date of COVID-19 diagnosis to surgery are as follows:

  • 4 weeks for an asymptomatic patient or recovery from only mild, non-respiratory symptoms
  • 6 weeks for a symptomatic patient (e.g., cough, dyspnea) who did not require hospitalization
  • 8-10 weeks for a symptomatic patient who is diabetic, immunocompromised, or was hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection
  • 12 weeks for a patient who was admitted to an intensive care unit due to COVID-19 infection

These timelines should not be considered definitive; each patient’s preoperative risk assessment should be individualized, factoring in surgical intensity, patient co-morbidities, and the benefit/risk ratio of further delaying surgery.

Residual symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain are common in patients who have had COVID-19. These symptoms can be present more than 60 days after diagnosis. In addition, COVID-19 may have long term effects. Speak with your doctor about a preoperative evaluation.

Am I required to show proof of my COVID-19 vaccination before my procedure?

No. Vaccination status will not have an impact on whether or not your surgery/procedure takes place.

Is Inova offering COVID-19 vaccinations to pre-surgical patients?

Having surgery or a procedure is not part of the criteria used when prioritizing patients for the vaccine, however, we encourage everyone to get their vaccine as soon as it is their turn.

COVID Vaccine & Cancer

Should cancer patients receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Based on CDC guidance, we are encouraging patients with active cancer to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when available. Active cancer refers to any cancer patient currently being treated or has been diagnosed within the last year. This can be given while on chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiotherapy.

When should a cancer patient get the vaccine?

The ideal timing is not clear and experts believe it is safe at any time during a chemotherapy cycle or during a course of radiation therapy. For patients undergoing radiation therapy, please discuss any further timing-related issues directly with your Radiation Oncology physician. We advise that the vaccine not be given on the day of chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatment. Some experts have proposed that timing it between 1 and 2 weeks prior to and after chemotherapy may be optimal for effectiveness.

Are cancer patients eligible to get the vaccine in Northern Virginia?

Yes. Northern Virginia is currently in phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccine distribution as of January 14. This now includes any person age 65 or older or any person age 16-64 with a high risk medical condition such as cancer.

To properly manage the vaccination process, individuals who have received their initial vaccine dose from Inova should anticipate receiving their second dose at their scheduled follow-up appointment. Inova is currently working with local health departments to receive supply and vaccinate eligible populations. Updates about our supply and eligibility will be made on this page; please check back frequently.

Latest vaccine information from Inova

Are there any cancer patients for which the above recommendations do not apply?

Please discuss timing of the vaccine with your oncologist if you have leukemia, lymphoma or other hematologic malignancy.

Should I let my oncologist’s office know that I have been vaccinated?

Please notify your oncologist’s team via MyChart if you have received the vaccine or bring your vaccine documentation in during your next scheduled visit. Your oncologist cannot schedule a vaccine for you (nor your oncologist’s clinic or infusion clinic).

After I receive my COVID-19 vaccine, do I still have to take precautions to prevent becoming infected?

Yes, you should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing and other safety precautions even after being vaccinated as per CDC guidelines.

COVID Vaccine & Mammograms

Can the COVID-19 vaccine impact my mammogram or ultrasound results?

All vaccines can cause temporary swelling of the lymph nodes, which is a sign that the body is building immunity and making antibodies as intended. In some rare cases, reports of lymphadenopathy; swelling of the lymph nodes, can develop in the arm and neck region 2 to 4 days after COVID-19 vaccination. This can last, on average, 10 days. This temporary swelling can impact mammogram and breast ultrasound readings. Therefore, it is important that you provide an accurate health history including your vaccination status, timing and side (left vs. right arm) of vaccination at your breast imaging appointment.

If possible, we recommend scheduling routine screening mammograms either before your first COVID-19 vaccine or later than 14 days after vaccination (first or second dose). However, if you have any breast symptoms, you should not delay getting a mammogram or breast ultrasound.

I need a mammogram – when is the best time to schedule my exam?

If possible, and when it does not delay care, consider scheduling screening exams prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or 4-6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Should I delay my mammogram?

No, please do not delay your mammogram. If you cannot schedule your mammogram around your vaccine in the timeline suggested above please move forward with your scheduled mammogram or breast imaging appointment.