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8095 Innovation Park Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031

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COVID-19 Information for the Community

Vaccines | Testing | FAQs | Visiting Hours | Cancellations

Updated Mask Policy

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COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster

Find out where to get your COVID-19 Booster shot today.

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COVID-19 Testing

At Inova we prioritize COVID-19 testing for patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Inova modifies its testing guidance as appropriate based on transmissibility, the current state of the pandemic and latest scientific evidence.

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COVID-19 Recovery and Rehab

For patients recovering from COVID-19: The road to recovery is just beginning when you leave the hospital or recover at home. The Post-COVID-19 Care Centers at Inova provide at variety of services to help support recovery from physical, cognitive and psychological symptoms. 

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Self Assessment
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COVID-19 Self Assessment

Based on recommendation by the CDC, Inova's COVID-19 self-assessment tool helps you determine whether you might have COVID-19 and guides you in seeking the appropriate care. 

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Virtual Care
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Inova Virtual Visits

Get step-by-step instructions for activating your telemedicine video visits. 

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Visitor Policy

Inova's visitation policies were modified in June 2020 to reflect safety precautions for COVID-19 for the protection of our patients, visitors, team members and community.

See Visitor Policies

Event & Class Cancellations

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, some in-person Inova public classes and events have been postponed until further notice.

See Full List and Details

How Can I Help?

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Times like this reinforce that your support to Inova allows us to provide world-class healthcare every day, to every member of our community.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020, with all 50 states and U.S. territories now reporting cases.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with COVID-19 have a variety of symptoms ranging from mild reactions to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with the following symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

* This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

What can I expect if I am hospitalized for COVID-19 related symptoms?

Inova’s care for patients with COVID-19 is based on recommendations from experts in leading public health organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your experience in our hospital today may be different than a previous one. For example, your food will be delivered on a disposable tray and we may measure how much liquid you drink. We’d like to tell you a bit more about your stay. Read more in the attachment below.

Safety & Prevention

What steps can I take to protect my health?

  • Infection prevention for any illness begins with good personal hygiene practices including hand washing (20 seconds with soap and water), disinfecting work and food preparation surfaces, minimizing touching your face and avoiding close proximity with anyone who is ill or exhibiting symptoms.
  • Stay home as much as possible. Avoid crowded public places.
  • If you must go out, wear a cloth face-covering or mask and keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Remember, even people with no symptoms can carry COVID-19 and transmit it to other people.
  • Acknowledge people verbally instead of shaking hands or hugging.
  • Use gloves or a tissue when opening doors, pressing elevator buttons, etc. and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately afterwards.
  • Individuals who are sick with respiratory symptoms should stay home. If you must leave home for any reason, including to receive medical care, wear a cloth face-covering or mask and always cover coughs and sneezes. Wash your hands often to keep from spreading illness to others. A cloth face-covering or mask will help prevent an ill person from spreading the virus and even if you do not have symptoms, you could be infected and spreading the virus without knowing it.
  • Create an emergency plan of action. Develop a household plan to ensure preparedness based on your daily needs and routine, including food and supplies, care arrangements for children, elders and pets, and ensure that you have enough critical prescription medications.

Why should I wear a cloth face-covering or mask?

When in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of cloth face-coverings or masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you do not have a facemask you can easily make one from a piece of cloth and two rubber bands (see video).

Can I travel?

The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel, both within the United States and to other countries.

COVID-19 has been reported in all 50 states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. For more travel guidelines, check the CDC website.

Do not travel if you are sick, or travel with someone who is sick.

Is it safe to run errands and go to the store?

The CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible, and practice social distancing at all times, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness.

If you need to go out to meet your basic household needs (such as banking, or buying groceries and medicine), follow these tips:

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Order online and/or use curbside pickup.
  • Protect yourself in public. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face-covering or mask.
  • If you can, shop early in the day or later at night, when stores may be less crowded.
  • Disinfect your shopping cart with disinfecting wipes if available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If you must use money, handle a card or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer right after paying.
  • Wash and/or sanitize your hands after leaving the store.

Booster FAQs

I already got a booster shot. Do I need another to be up to date with COVID-19 vaccination?

A person is up to date with COVID-19 vaccination after getting their first booster dose. Getting a second booster dose is not necessary to be considered up to date at this time. The FDA and CDC recently authorized a second booster for immunocompromised individuals and those 50 years and older. If you have questions about a second booster shot, talk to your healthcare provider.

Who should receive a booster dose?

The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that all individuals age 12+ should receive booster shots. This recommendation is for anyone who has received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Why should I get a booster at all, if the vaccine is still protecting me?

The COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective in preventing severe illness and keeping you out of the hospital, but because the initial protection from the first doses can wane over time, the booster is key. Your protection is significantly enhanced by a third dose – the booster – and can not only reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization or death, but can lessen your symptoms if you are infected.

When should I receive a booster dose?

  • Those who are eligible should receive a booster dose only after being fully vaccinated. Those who have completed a primary vaccine series (i.e., two-dose mRNA vaccine series or a single dose of the J&J vaccine) are considered fully vaccinated ≥2 weeks after completion of the primary series.
  • For those who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in their first series, boosters are available to those who are eligible at least 5 months after their second dose.
  • For those who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are available to those who are eligible at least two months after their first dose. The CDC will provide the most up-to-date information on groups eligible for a booster shot.

Recommended Vaccine Scheduling

Primary Series Manufacturer Age Group # of doses in primary series #of booster doses Interval between 1st and 2nd dose Interval between primary and booster dose
Pfizer 5-11 years 2 N/A 3 weeks N/A
Pfizer 12+ years 2 1 3-8 weeks* ≥5 months
Moderna 18+ 2 1 4-8 weeks* ≥5 months
J&J 18+ 1 1 N/A ≥5 months

*An 8-week interval may be optimal for some people ages 12 years and older, especially for males ages 12 to 39, to reduce risk of vaccine-related myocarditis. A shorter interval (3 weeks for Pfizer; 4 weeks for Moderna) between the first and second doses remains the recommended interval for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, adults 65 years and older, and others who need rapid protection due to increased concern about community transmission or risk of severe disease.

What type of booster should I receive?

  • You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. The CDC's recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
  • Mixing products may be considered for the booster dose only.
  • If you have questions about which booster is right for you, please speak your healthcare provider to help you weigh the risks and benefits of each option.

What is the difference between a booster shot and an additional dose?

Per the CDC, a booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine series and protection against the virus has decreased over time. Additional doses are administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems.

About the COVID-19 Vaccine


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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.

How can I get vaccine verification assistance?

A person vaccinated in Virginia can visit to obtain their free vaccination record with QR code, which can then be saved to a phone gallery, printed on paper, or stored in a compatible account. If you cannot access your records via the Search for your Vaccination Record self-service portal, it could be because your profile needs additional information added, like a phone number. If you are experiencing this issue, please call the Virginia Immunization Information System help desk at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for assistance. We apologize, this is not something Inova can correct.

COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers

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.

Vaccine Resources for Children 5-17

Videos for Parents

Preparing For Your Child's Vaccine

Pain Management Tools

COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids: A Guide for Parents

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Teens

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?

Yes. The data we have seen make us confident that the vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are safe for children and adolescents.  The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use in people 5 years old and older.   

The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.

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. For more information, refer to the CDC’s guidance.


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

Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial included injection site pain (sore arm), redness and swelling. Fatigue and headache were reported as most common whole body side effects. Less commonly seen in  5 – 11-year-olds were muscle and/or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite.

More children reported side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity and occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days. The side effects appear to be less common in 5 – 11-year-olds than in older children/adolescents and young adults. 

There were no identified cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in the clinical trials of 5 – 11-year olds.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective in children?

Yes.  Immune responses of children 5 through 11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16 through 25 years of age. In addition, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.

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 who are planning to get pregnant should get vaccinated 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 my child is 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines on when you can be around others after having COVID-19. For more information, refer to the CDC’s guidance.

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 an integral part of making the vaccination experience as anxiety- and pain-free as possible. We have onsite pain management tools, 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 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. 

Additional resources for parents

Can someone get the COVID-19 vaccine if they’ve had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or adults (MIS-C or MIS-A)?

Yes. The CDC recommends that people diagnosed with MIS-C or MIS-A recover from their illness, wait at least 90 days, and have return of normal cardiac function before getting their COVID-19 vaccines.

Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines?

Yes. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended that people who would otherwise fall behind on routine vaccines can get the COVID-19 vaccines at the same time or within 14 days of other routine vaccines. 

For children 5 – 11 years old who are going to receive 2 or more vaccines in a single limb, the outer thigh muscle (vastus lateralis muscle) is the preferred site.  

Do 5 – 11-year-olds get the same dose of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as older children and adults?

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 – 11 years of age is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals 12 years of age and older (30 micrograms).

What if my 5 – 11 year-old weighs more than a typical 5 – 11-year-old – is the dose of vaccine different?

No. The dose of vaccine is not based on weight, it is based on the age of your child.

What if my 11-year-old is about to turn 12 years? Do I wait for the 12 year old dose or do I get them the 11 year old dose now?

Your 11 year old can get the first vaccine now at the 10 microgram dose. Then if they turn 12 years old before the second dose, they have the option to get either a second dose 3 weeks later at the same dose (10 micrograms) or they can get the 12 year old dose (30 micrograms). 

Of note, the 10-microgram dose was studied early on in adults and it showed a good antibody response in non-elderly adults.  

COVID Vaccine & Pregnancy

I am pregnant. Should I get the vaccine?

Pregnancy is considered a high-risk health condition. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.

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 are encouraged to get vaccinated 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. There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

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

Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, although limited, has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy. Vaccines have been studied using many viruses and in all trimesters of pregnancy. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes affecting the baby, were associated with vaccination in these trials.

If you are pregnant, you might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination. While such a conversation might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination. You can receive a COVID-19 vaccine without any additional documentation from your healthcare provider.

Professional medical organizations such as The American College of OB-GYN, and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine who specialize in the treatment and care of pregnant individuals all align with the CDC in encouraging pregnant individuals to get COVID-19 vaccinated.

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.

Getting Regular (non COVID-19) Medical Care

Is it safe to come to Inova for a medical appointment?

Yes. Here's why:

  • All visitors entering an Inova care site undergo a symptoms screening.
  • At the point of entry to any Inova care site, all visitors are required to wear a cloth face-covering or mask at all times. Masks with vents/valves are not permitted; an Inova mask will be provided.
  • Family members or friends are not allowed to wait in lobbies or common areas such as banks, cafeterias, chapels, food courts or any other area within the care site.

Is it safe to come to the Emergency Room for non COVID-19 emergencies?

Yes, it is. Here's why:

  • Inova has implemented additional procedures at all care sites, based on the CDC guidelines, to protect the safety of our patients, team members and community.
  • Delaying the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of a potential emergency condition can put you at greater risk – especially if you have symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.

Read more and see ER locations

Does Inova offer virtual visits for primary care and specialty care offices?

Yes. Inova offers medical appointments via video and telephone to safely connect you with your provider (physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant) from your home. A video or telephone appointment allows you to get your care without having to go to an Inova healthcare site.


How will Inova keep me safe from contracting COVID-19 during my appointment, ER visit, surgery or procedure?

Inova has a long history of protecting patients from harm and infection. We are nationally recognized for our commitment to quality and safety, and we continue to review, revise and implement all infection prevention and control measures established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state/local health agencies to provide the safest care.

  • All clinical care providers wear a surgical mask when caring for patients.
  • All Inova team members participate in twice daily symptom and temperature checks.
  • Clinical care providers use social distancing and technology to help minimize close contact.
  • We screen all patients and visitors at registration/check-in or by phone prior to their entry at our care sites.
  • Potential COVID-19 patients are given face masks and placed into isolation immediately.
  • In addition, we require every patient and visitor to wear a cloth face-covering or mask while they are in any Inova care site.
  • Patients with infectious diseases remain isolated in their room at all times. Treatment comes to them.
  • Equipment used to care for these patients is not shared with any other patient.

Our team members treat respiratory illnesses and infectious diseases every day while keeping our patients, visitors and themselves safe.

Inova Extended COVID-19 Care Clinics

What are the Inova Extended COVID-19 Care Clinics?

Inova has shifted management of the COVID-19 Extend Care Clinic and patients to Infectious Disease Physicians LLC.

If you are at severe risk of complications from COVID-19, please speak with your primary care provider about the best treatment option.

Caring for Yourself or Loved Ones with COVID-19

Can I visit someone in the hospital?

Inova encourages social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

We limit visitors to provide the highest level of safety for our patients, team members and community. We encourage video meetings between patients and loved ones.

Our visitation guidance remains in effect until further notice. Please reference these links for our current visitation policies:

Inova’s Visitation Policy



How do I treat COVID-19 symptoms at home?

The CDC recommends that anyone with possible or confirmed COVID-19 follow these self-care steps:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Monitor symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your primary healthcare provider immediately.
  • Get rest and stay hydrated.
  • If you have a medical appointment, notify your healthcare provider ahead of time that you have or may have COVID-19.
  • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom. If you must be around others, wear a facemask.

How Can I Help?

Can I still donate blood?

Yes, it is imperative now more than ever to have a steady blood supply available to support our patients. The need for blood never stops, and there is no substitute for human blood when it is needed for a patient.

It is safe to donate blood. Inova Blood Donor Services has implemented several new safety measures in response to COVID-19 to provide a safe donation experience for blood donors who visit their local donor center. Generous donors are needed now to ensure we can continue to provide an adequate and safe blood supply for our community’s patients. Each donation can save up to three lives, and takes less than an hour to donate.

Inova Blood Donor Services provides life-saving blood to three Trauma Centers, including the Level-One ER at Inova Fairfax Hospital and two other Northern Virginia trauma centers.

Sign up to donate blood

Make your appointment or ask questions about your eligibility to donate by calling 1-866-BLOODSAVES (1-866-256-6372) or visiting

Photo ID Required. Please allow one hour for your blood donation. Face masks are required – for both donors and Inova team members.

If I have recovered from COVID-19, can I help by donating plasma?

No. Inova Blood Donor Services is no longer collecting convalescent plasma for patients in need, due to the new treatments being implemented over the course of the pandemic. Convalescent plasma was useful while the treatments were being developed, and now it is not needed.

How else can I help?

Community members can support Inova’s Emergency Preparedness Fund, host their own fundraising website, donate supplies, share a note of gratitude or support, donate meals, give blood or give plasma for a research study (see plasma donation above).

Medical professionals can also apply for special paid positions to help our teams care for patients at Inova during the COVID-19 crisis. (Learn more)

You can learn more about these initiatives on the Inova Foundation website.


Stop The Spread Of Germs

Help Prevent The Spread Of Respiratory Diseases Like COVID-19

  • Social Distancing Diagram
    Social Distancing
  • cover tour sneeze diagram
    Cover Your Sneezing
  • Avoid touching face diagram
    Avoid Touching Your Face
  • Disinfect area diagram
    Clean Frequently
  • Stay home if sick diagram
    Feeling Sick? Stay Home
  • Wash your hands diagram
    Wash Your Hands

Patient Feedback and Words of Gratitude

Our patients and community members continue to express their gratitude for the world-class care they are receiving across Inova. Their words are an incredible reflection of the compassionate, connected care, being provided by our Inova teams and we are proud and humbled to share what they have to say…
“…very impressed with the staff's response to Coronavirus. Sanitizing procedures were excellent and I truly felt safe being there.”

Inova Urgent Care
“This was my first telemedicine appointment and it went as well as my office visits. I'm glad this was offered due to coronavirus.”

Inova Primary Care
“Due to COVID-19, special care was taken. My husband was kept up-to-date with my status.” Inpatient Care
“Given that we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, admission staff, nurses, doctor, basically everyone, were phenomenal and super professional in how they treated me from the moment I arrived to when I departed. I commend them and thank them all for their service.” Inova Emergency Services
“This was the best ER experience I have ever had... there was much awareness around coronavirus and the associated protocols... every member of staff seemed cognitive of this in their actions... hand cleansing went on everywhere.” Inova Emergency Services
“During this time of COVID-19, I am happy to see a lot of precautions being done around the office. The staff is calm and attentive. I felt safe which is what matters most these days.” Inova Primary Care
“…we requested early (24-hour) discharge due to the risks of COVID-19. The nursing team worked expeditiously to accommodate our request, and we were able to leave 25 hours after our baby was born. thank you!!!!” Inpatient Care
“During this difficult time dealing with COVID-19, I got the best care anyone could have asked for. I thank you all for continuing to be on the front lines in this fight.” Inova Emergency Services
“My first visit to this office was during the COVID-19 quarantine and the office did an amazing job to make me feel safe. They did not have any patients interact throughout the entire process and made sure to take all safety precautions. I was amazed and thrilled because I have a heart condition and going out in this was very scary.” Inova Primary Care
“With all of the coronavirus concerns it would have been expected to be harsh and bossy, but the professionalism and courtesy was amazing and seemed to be standard.” Inpatient Care
“No one was allowed to have someone with them unless they were interpreting because of COVID-19. It was definitely understandable, and the staff was appropriately apologetic and understanding when they told me my husband could not come with me.” Inova Emergency Services
“I appreciated my healthcare provider taking the time to discuss the COVID-19 to me. Even though I am aware of it and what to expect, I appreciate my healthcare provider speaking on it." Inova Primary Care
“I've been married to a nurse for almost 42 years! Great attention to detail in this time of COVID-19 - they put me at ease and got me well-situated for examination and treatment. I always felt that they listened and explained things very well.” Inova Emergency Services
“… made a number of calls on my behalf to determine whether and where I should get a COVID-19 test, since I was exhibiting the correct symptoms (I tested negative). She did an excellent job of explaining the diagnostic and treatment options associated with my condition. She also followed up on my condition and prescribed antibiotics since I have elevated white blood cell count. I appreciate her dedication and definitely felt well cared for.” Inova Primary Care