Not only is it normal to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s also beneficial. You deserve to know about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines and how you can schedule an appointment at LVPG primary care practices. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions to provide answers.

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Questions about scheduling and availability at LVHN

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a monovalent shot for everyone 6 months and older who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months.

At LVHN, monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses are available for individuals ages 6 months and older at either your Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) primary care office or an ExpressCARE location.

LVPG: LVPG primary care (internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics) practices are offering these vaccines for their patients during specific vaccination appointments or as part of yearly physical or sick/problem visits (as long as the patient is not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19). 

ExpressCARE: For no-appointment COVID-19 vaccinations, visit an ExpressCARE location near you. ExpressCARE can provide COVID-19 vaccinations for most people 12 and older. Visit for location information.

Two important notes about ExpressCARE and COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • Children 12-18 who have Medicaid coverage: ExpressCARE is not a Vaccines for Children (VFC) provider, so children in this population cannot get their shot at ExpressCARE. However, all LVPG Family Medicine and LVPG Pediatrics locations are VFC providers, and families can schedule vaccines with their child’s primary care office.
  • Children younger than 12: Neither ExpressCARE nor Children's ExpressCARE offer COVID vaccinations for children younger than 12. Make an appointment with your child’s primary care office for a COVID vaccination.


Yes. If you want to receive a vaccine through LVHN but you are not a current patient, call 888-402-LVHN (5846) or visit to make a new patient appointment.

You can cancel your appointment through the MyLVHN app or by calling your LVPG primary care practice.

People who don’t have access to the MyLVHN app can call their LVPG primary care practice directly to schedule an appointment.

At this time, LVHN will only offer Pfizer-BioNTech in its practices. Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be available at retail pharmacies across the region. Patients may receive either new COVID vaccine, regardless of their receipt of a different COVID vaccine in the past.

Insurance will cover the cost of the vaccine, though an administration fee could apply in some cases. People should check with their insurance carrier for coverage information. The CDC has a Bridge Access Program for uninsured and underinsured adults.

Questions about considerations before receiving a vaccine

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

There is one situation that requires you to carefully plan when you have your COVID-19 vaccine shot:

  • 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 shot 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.


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 vaccine after your COVID-19 vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be administered without regard to timing.

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.

It is recommended that individuals who had/have COVID-19 wait at least 90 days after their infection has resolved to get vaccinated. This helps maximize the efficacy of the vaccine.

No. 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. 

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.

Read a full article about this topic

Questions about safety and effectiveness

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.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven safe and effective for children, and it has also been found to reduce the risk for severe illness and death. That is why pediatric specialists at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated.

For children ages 4 and older, the most common side effects are swelling, redness or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and joint pain. For children ages 3 and younger, common side effects include pain at the injection site, irritability or crying, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and sleepiness.

You may want to give your child acetaminophen four times a day for the first one to two days at the appropriate dosing after they receive 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 where the shot was given. If your child develops a fever, drinking lots of fluids and wearing light clothing can help.

Questions about how the vaccine works

Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines use 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.

No. These vaccines will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

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.

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 clinician virtually. You can view virtual care options at

A flu vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it can help 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.