Not only is it normal to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s beneficial. You deserve to know about the safety and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and how you can schedule an appointment. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions to provide answers. Para español, haga clic aquí.

This page was last updated on 5/19/2021 at 3:23 PM.

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Questions about scheduling and availability at LVHN
Questions about considerations before to receiving a vaccine
Questions about safety and effectiveness for children and adults
Questions about how the vaccine works
Questions about how the vaccine will impact the pandemic
Questions about clinical trials

Questions about scheduling and availability at LVHN

Q: How will I know when COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available?

A: You can see when we are scheduling by looking at our website, LVHN.org, for a green banner on the top of the screen. Also, check MyLVHN for available appointments.

Q: Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Anyone age 12 or older can receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to get vaccinated. There are some reasons to carefully plan when you have your COVID-19 vaccine. Read more

Q: How can I schedule my vaccination appointment?

A: You now have more options than ever to get your vaccine

  1. Schedule right on this website


    Make an appointment

  2. Schedule on MyLVHN, our patient portal.


    Sign In

  3. Call 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). The COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 
  4. Walk in are accepted at the following LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics:

    COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Northampton Crossings

    COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Pocono

    COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Hazleton

    COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Schuylkill

    COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–MacArthur Road 

Q. Can I walk into one of your vaccination locations? 

A: Walk-ins are accepted at the following LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics:

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Northampton Crossings

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Pocono

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Hazleton

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–Schuylkill

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–MacArthur Road

Q: Who can be vaccinated through the Mobile Vaccination Unit?

LVHN began the COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit in January as a way to reach large concentrations of people eligible for the vaccine, but unable to get to hospitals or drive-through clinics. 

In March, Bennett Toyota donated three new vehicles to LVHN, which will be used as part of LVHN’s COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit.

The vehicles will be used to transport vaccines, IT infrastructure such as computers and the medical team. The COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit serves all areas of our region and will be going to senior high-rises, community centers and other facilities to reach community members with limited transportation and other access barriers.

Currently, the mobile units are focused on community-based large-scale vaccine clinics and are not being used for the “house call” model of vaccination. 

Q: How can I cancel my vaccine appointment?

You can cancel your appointment through MyLVHN or by calling the LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). The COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

The CDC recommends that people receive the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine 42 days after the first dose. If that is not possible, the CDC says people should receive the second dose as close as possible to the 42-day mark. There is no data to suggest that second doses provided after 42 days are not effective.

Q: If I need to cancel my appointment, can I give it to a friend? 

A: No, you are not able to transfer appointments to others.

Q: If I received my first dose of COVID-19 vaccine outside of the health network, can I get my second dose at LVHN?

A: LVHN is not providing second doses for people who received their first dose elsewhere. The State of Pennsylvania records the location of your first dose and will send the second dose to the same location.

Q: Should I delay my vaccination so that it’s available to others who are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19?

A: No, we recommend that everyone schedule their vaccine appointment as soon as possible. The more people who receive the vaccine, the closer our community gets to herd immunity

Q: How can people who don’t have access to technology schedule their vaccine appointment?

A: Appointments may be scheduled by calling 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). The COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Q: Can I choose which vaccine I receive at LVHN?

A: Patients cannot choose which vaccine they will receive at this time. Due to limited supply, vaccines are given based on inventory at the time of your appointment. While you will not be able to choose which vaccine you will receive, any vaccine that has been granted EUA by the FDA has been proven to be both safe and effective. 

Q: Will LVHN receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Currently, the state of Pennsylvania is sending all shipments of Johnson & Johnson vaccine to intermediate units and retail pharmacies as a part of a thoughtful plan to vaccinate prekindergarten-12 educators and staff as well as early childhood education workers. Prekindergarten-12 educators and staff can receive a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at LVHN.

Questions about considerations before receiving a vaccine

Q: Who should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: There are no preexisting conditions that are contraindications for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Contraindication: A symptom or condition that makes use of a drug, like the vaccine, risky). If you have questions about a medical condition or allergy, speak with your primary care provider.

There are some reasons to carefully plan when you have your COVID-19 vaccine:

  • You have a screening mammogram scheduled soon after your COVID-19 vaccine: Recently, some women who received their COVID-19 vaccine and had a mammogram soon after had false-positive readings of the mammogram and required further imaging. The false-positive readings were caused by temporarily swollen lymph nodes as a normal side effect from the vaccine. It is recommended that you have your screening mammogram prior to your COVID-19 vaccination or wait 4-6 weeks after your last COVID-19 vaccination to have a screening mammogram.
  • You have received a corticosteroid injection: : There is currently no direct evidence to suggest that a corticosteroid injection before or after a COVID-19 vaccine decreases the vaccine’s effectiveness. However, the Spine Intervention Society recommends that people consider the timing of their corticosteroid injection when scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine. People should wait two weeks after receiving a corticosteroid injection before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

After receiving the vaccine, people should wait one week before receiving a corticosteroid injection.

Recently received another vaccine? If you recently received a vaccine, there is no reason to delay your COVID-19 vaccination. Likewise, there is no reason to wait to get another vaccination after your COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be administered without regard to timing. At this time, LVHN is administering the vaccine to people age 12 and older.

Q: Will people who have gotten sick with COVID-19 still benefit from getting vaccinated?

A: Yes. While people who have tested positive for COVID-19 do produce antibodies, the antibody levels and how long they last are not known. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19, and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you are advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have been sick with COVID-19 previously. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person, and the evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long in some people.

Q: I have a health condition that prevents me from getting vaccines with live viruses. Does the COVID-19 vaccine use a live virus?

A: Both Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines are mRNA vaccines. This means they are made from genetic material that provides your body with the code it needs to create spike proteins (not the virus) and build immunity. AstraZeneca’s and Johnson & Johnson’s are non-replicating virus-vectored vaccines. None of these vaccines are live vaccines.

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

A: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) all recommend that these patients be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. 

These societies also recommend the vaccine be offered to patients undergoing fertility treatment based on Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.

Read a full article about this topic.

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Questions about safety and effectiveness

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Q: What are the side effects of vaccination?

A: Pfizer has reported that some Phase III clinical trial participants experienced mild-to-moderate side effects with its investigational COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Scientists anticipate that the shots may cause mild flu-like side effects – including sore arm, muscle aches and fever. These mild side effects are more common after the second dose. Read how LVHN front-line colleagues felt after their first dose and after their second dose of vaccine.

Q: Is the vaccine safe and effective for children?

A: The Pfizer vaccine has emergency use authorization (EUA) for ages 12 and older and has been proven safe and effective. The clinical trial data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration demonstrated 100 percent effectiveness at preventing disease in this age group. That is why pediatric specialists at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital are encouraging parents to get their child vaccinated for their safety, as well as the safety of their family. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to get vaccinated.

Q: Are side effects in children different than in adults?

A: Common side effects of the vaccine in adults and children are pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as fatigue, tiredness, mild headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. These side effects can affect one’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. In children and adolescents, these side effects may be more common with the first dose than typically seen in adults.

Q: What should I do if my child experiences side effects?

A: You may want to give your child acetaminophen four times a day for the first one to two days at the appropriate dosing after receiving the vaccine. Please don’t take ibuprofen or acetaminophen before receiving the vaccine. To reduce pain and discomfort where your child got the shot, apply a cool, wet cloth to the spot on the arm where the shot was given. Drinking lots of fluids and wearing light clothing can help when there is fever.

Q: How effective is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

A: Any vaccine that has received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been proven effective and safe. This includes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

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Questions about how the vaccine works

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Q: How does the vaccine for COVID-19 work?

A: Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines use novel messenger-RNA, or mRNA, technology, which uses modified genetic material to cause the body to create a protein from the virus. The immune system then recognizes the protein as foreign and initiates an immune response. 

For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, researchers took DNA from the coronavirus and put it in a shell called an adenovirus. The adenovirus cannot replicate in your system or make you sick. It acts as a Trojan horse by entering your system like a virus would and then prompting your body to create antibodies.

Q: How is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine different than the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines?

A: There are a few things that make the Johnson & Johnson vaccine different than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. As noted above, there is a difference in the way this vaccine is made. Researchers took DNA from the coronavirus and put it in a shell called an adenovirus. The adenovirus cannot replicate in your system or make you sick. It acts as a Trojan horse by entering your system like a virus would and then prompting your body to create antibodies. Johnson & Johnson has decades of research on adenovirus vaccines. Other vaccines available that use this technology include the Ebola vaccine (also made by Johnson & Johnson), the HPV vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine and even one of the influenza vaccines.

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, only one dose is required for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must be stored in freezers, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be kept in a refrigerator for at least three months. 

Q: Will the vaccine keep me from getting COVID-19?

A: Current data shows that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease. During the clinical trials, scientists compared how many people in the vaccinated group and the placebo group went on to develop the disease.

The companies will continue to test people in the studies for antibodies to the COVID-19 virus, which would include people who did not show any symptoms of infection. This allows researchers to get a better sense of whether the vaccines protect against not only getting sick (experiencing symptoms), but also against infection (becoming infected without experiencing symptoms).

Q: Will COVID-19 vaccines cause me to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests?

A: No. These vaccines will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, you should test positive on antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection or vaccination and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.

Q: What is a vaccine?

A: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies and cellular immunity to combat a specific disease, like it would if you were actually exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease without having to get the disease first. This is why vaccines are necessary — they prevent disease by letting you develop immunity in a safe and controlled way.

Q: How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will I need?

A: Both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines require two doses. The different vaccine products are not interchangeable. The CDC recommends that people receive the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine 42 days after the first dose. If that is not possible, the CDC says people should receive the second dose as close as possible to the 42-day mark. There is no data to suggest that second doses provided after 42 days are not effective. While vaccine supply is determined by the state of Pennsylvania, we are doing everything in our control to help you reach that target.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose.

Q: What if I miss my second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?

A: These two COVID-19 vaccines are not completely effective unless you receive the second dose.

Q: Does the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines cause more side effects?

A: When you receive a COVID-19 vaccine, your immune system goes to work creating antibodies to protect itself from the coronavirus. The vaccine CANNOT cause a COVID-19 infection but can cause side effects, including pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. Pfizer has reported that some Phase III clinical trial participants experienced mild to moderate flu-like side effects, including sore arm, muscle aches and fever.

Ultimately, symptoms such as sore arms, muscle aches, fever and headaches mean that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and producing antibodies that will protect against future infection with coronavirus. Read how some of LVHN front-line colleagues felt after their second vaccination.

Q: How can I know the difference between vaccine side effects and COVID-19 symptoms?

If you experience cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell, stay home. Those symptoms are not known to be side effects associated with the vaccine. It may be difficult to distinguish between some side effects of the vaccine and symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses. When in doubt, speak to a provider virtually. You can view virtual care options at LVHN.org/VirtualCare.

Q: Will getting the flu vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

A: A flu vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it can help to prevent you from getting influenza (flu) at the same time as COVID-19. This can help keep you from having a more severe illness. While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen this winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread during that time. You should encourage all of your friends and family to get flu shots.

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Questions about how the vaccine will impact the pandemic

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Q: Do I have to continue wearing a mask after I get the vaccine?

A: Yes, we should all continue wearing face masks, practicing excellent hand hygiene and social distancing until enough vaccine is manufactured and distributed, until we know how long a vaccine will protect us, and until our community shows reduced levels of spread.

It is unclear at this point if the vaccine prevents people from becoming infected with COVID-19 or if it prevents feeling sick when infected. That means you could still transmit virus after you’ve received your shot.

Q: Do vaccines mean the pandemic is over?

A: In the short term, no. But if most people receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the pandemic could drastically shrink. This means we are one giant step closer to getting our lives back to normal provided as many people as possible get vaccinated as early as possible.

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Questions about clinical trials

Q: What does Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) mean?

A: In an emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can make a judgment that it is worth releasing something for use even without following the typical timeline for a new vaccine or drug. The administrative portions of the trial have been sped up. The scientific analysis of clinical trial participants remains the same for these and all other vaccines. If there’s evidence that strongly suggests that patients have benefited from the vaccine in clinical trials and that it is safe, the agency can issue an EUA to make it available. The FDA has issued EUAs many times previously in other situations. The EUA process is well established and is not newly created to address COVID-19 vaccine development. Three COVID-19 vaccines currently have Emergency Use Authorization – the Moderna vaccine, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Q: Are there non-mRNA vaccines available?

A: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not use mRNA. Researchers took DNA from the coronavirus and put it in a shell called an adenovirus. The adenovirus cannot replicate in your system or make you sick. It acts as a Trojan horse by entering your system like a virus would and then prompting your body to create antibodies. Johnson & Johnson has decades of research on adenovirus vaccines. Other vaccines available that use this technology include the Ebola vaccine (also made by Johnson & Johnson), the HPV vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine and even one of the influenza vaccines.

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