FAQs: COVID-19 Vaccine
From information on scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine to details about safety and effectiveness, you can get answers to all your COVID-19 vaccine questions right here.
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 (which are required at our COVID-19 vaccination clinic locations outside the Lehigh Valley). We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions to provide answers. Para español, haz clic aquí.
Questions about scheduling and availability at LVHN
Questions about considerations before 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 third COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised people
Questions about booster shots
A: Anyone age 6 months 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 is one treatment – corticosteroid injection – that influences when you plan to have your COVID-19 vaccine. Read more
A: You now have more options than ever to get your vaccine:
Schedule on MyLVHN, our patient portal, for people 6 months and older.
The FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine is provided at all LVHN vaccine clinics.
A: The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for children 6 months through 4 years. Visit this page for details on specific clinics for this age group in Whitehall and this page for information on clinics for this age group in Pottsville, East Stroudsburg and Hazleton.
A: To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine for your 5-11-year-old child, log in to your child’s MyLVHN account and schedule there, or call the LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). The COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
A: Appointments are required at LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics.
A: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA)) for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine on July 13, 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for people on July 20, 2022, for adults and expanded the recommendation to include adolescents 12-17 years on Aug. 22, 2022.
Novavax is available as a primary two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for people age 12 and older at LVHN’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–MacArthur Road located in Whitehall.
A: Novavax is not indicated to be used as a booster shot at this time.
A: Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Novavax vaccine is not an mRNA vaccine and is ideal for those who have an allergy to an mRNA component or wanted a more traditional type of vaccine. Novavax is a more traditional protein-based vaccine that works by getting the body’s immune system to recognize modified pieces of the virus. There is no live virus in the vaccine.
A: The primary two-doses of the Novavax vaccine are recommended to be given three weeks apart, however, it’s possible to wait up to eight weeks if necessary.
A: LVHN will offer Novavax as a primary COVID-19 vaccine option at the LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic–MacArthur Road located in Whitehall.
A: Appointments are required.
LVHN began the COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit in January 2021 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 2021, Bennett Toyota donated three new vehicles to LVHN, which are used as part of LVHN’s COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit.
The vehicles are 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 visits 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.
A: You can cancel your appointment through MyLVHN or by calling the LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
A: No, you are not able to transfer appointments to others.
A: Yes, LVHN does provide second doses for people who received their first dose elsewhere. We ask that you bring proof of your first dose (such as your vaccine card) to your appointment.
A: Please call the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 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.
A: The Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax vaccines are available at all LVHN vaccine clinic locations. Individuals age 18 and older can request which vaccine they wish to receive. However, availability is based on vaccine supply. At this time, LVHN is only offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years.
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 is one situation that requires you to carefully plan when you have your COVID-19 vaccine, booster or third shot:
A. 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 6 months and older.
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.
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.
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), all recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding patients be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC and these medical 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.
A: According to the CDC, possible side effects include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea. 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.
A: LVHN is currently offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children age 6 months and older. It has been proven safe and effective, and it has also been found to reduce the risk of severe illness and death among children. That is why pediatric specialists at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to get vaccinated.
A: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday, Aug. 23, gave full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those 12 and older, elevating it from emergency use authorization (EUA). It remains under EUA for those children age 6 months to 11 years.
A: For children age 4 and older, the most common side effects are swelling, redness or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, fever, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and joint pain. For children age 3 and younger, common side effects include pain at the injection site, irritability or crying, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and sleepiness. Younger children may experience fewer side effects than teens and young adults.
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 give your child 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.
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.
Novavax uses a more traditional protein-based approach like other current vaccines used to prevent other illnesses. The Novavax vaccine is not indicated for use as a booster and is only available for those who have not received a previous COVID-19 vaccine.
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).
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.
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.
A: Depending on your age, the type of COVID-19 vaccine you receive (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), and if you are immunocompromised, you will either receive one, two or three primary doses.
A: These two COVID-19 vaccines are not completely effective unless you receive all your recommended doses.
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 mild side effects, including pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain 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.
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.
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. You should encourage all of your friends and family to get flu shots.
A: Depending on the circumstances and local ordinances, you may need to continue wearing a face mask even after you are vaccinated.
Some places you must wear a face mask include:
Schools, businesses, churches and other organizations are making decisions about the necessity for people to wear face masks based on what is known at that time about community spread of the coronavirus.
Even if you are vaccinated, practicing excellent hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing a face mask in a crowded area all can help reduce levels of spread.
Though the COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, some people have still become infected with COVID-19 and transmitted the virus.
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. Two COVID-19 vaccines have received FDA approval following EUA: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received FDA approval Aug. 23, 2021, and Moderna vaccine received FDA approval on Jan. 31, 2022.
A: Novavax uses a more traditional protein-based approach like other current vaccines used to prevent other illnesses. The Novavax vaccine is not indicated for use as a booster and is only available for those who have not received a previous COVID-19 vaccine.
A: Registration is required and can be done through MyLVHN or telephone:
A: According to the CDC, emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity after vaccination against COVID-19, compared to people who are not immunocompromised.
A: Individuals age 12-17 who are immunocompromised can receive a third primary shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second shot. That type is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization for that age group.
A. Children age 5-11 who are immunocompromised can receive a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second shot. That type is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization for that age group.
A: The CDC recommends a third vaccine shot for those with a range of conditions, such as recipients of organ or stem cell transplants, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, active recipients of treatment for cancer, people who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system, and others.
Individuals with any of the following conditions, or those directed to receive a third dose by their physician:
A: COVID-19 vaccinations (first dose, second dose third dose and booster shots) will be offered at all LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics. Learn more those locations at LVHN.org/vaccines.
A: The FDA recommends immunocompromised patients wait at least 28 days from the second shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine before receiving a third dose of either vaccine. It is recommended the third dose be from the same manufacturer as the previous doses, when feasible.
A: Studies on a third COVID-19 shot show it is safe and that mild or moderate reaction symptoms were consistent with earlier doses. No patients developed critical side effects that required hospitalization.
A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends booster shots for all adults 18 and older, and the Pfizer-BioNTech booster for children and teens 5-17. Timing for boosters is:
Children or adults who were previously infected with COVID-19 may choose to wait up to three months before getting a bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine, but at a minimum should be symptom-free and 10 days out from a positive COVID-19 test.
A: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the bivalent mRNA vaccine boosters made by Pfizer and Moderna.
If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially, you should receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as your booster.
The Novavax vaccine is not indicated for use as a booster.
A: Scheduling is required and can be done through:
A: COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be offered at all LVHN COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics. Please note: Your first two shots may have occurred in an LVHN location that no longer offers COVID-19 vaccinations. Learn more about the locations that do offer COVID-19 vaccines.
A: All individuals 5 years and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster.
A: Medical conditions include:
A: You may experience mild or moderate reaction symptoms very similar to the side effects experienced after your initial COVID-19 vaccination(s).
Side effects may include:
A: A COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is free.