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LVHN Now Offering Pfizer-BioNTech Booster for Children 16-17 Years


Families can now schedule Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for children 16-17 years by appointment only at all Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) COVID-19 vaccine clinic locations. This is in response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting the booster emergency use authorization (EUA) for this age group on Thursday, Dec. 9, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsing it on the same day.

Children age 16-17 who had their previous Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines at least six months earlier can receive the booster shot.

“Preliminary research has shown that booster shots help strengthen our protection against new variants of COVID-19,” says infectious diseases physician Timothy Friel, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, for LVHN. “Data suggest that levels of protection from the initial series can decrease with time. The additional shot six months after the initial series provides significant reduction in risk of acute illness and the other complications of COVID-19.”

While teenagers are less likely to be severely affected by COVID-19 than individuals in older age groups, they can still become infected, experience symptoms from the disease and need to be hospitalized. Some also develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a complication that involves inflammation of certain organs (including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs).

Possible side effects

The most common side effects of the booster vaccine are mild and resolve within a few days. They include:

  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the underarm

While there have been cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (swelling of the outer lining of the heart) in this age group (mainly in boys) after vaccination, these are rare side effects. With prompt medical treatment and rest, these cases typically resolve quickly.

The FDA took these cases into account when considering EUA for this age group and determined that the benefits of the booster outweigh the risk.

“The risk for myocarditis and pericarditis is much higher if these children develop COVID-19,” Friel says. “In addition, they are at risk of developing other medical complications from COVID-19, including life-threatening conditions like MIS-C and some of the chronic symptoms of long COVID.”  

How to schedule

There are two easy ways to schedule your child’s appointment:

  1. Go to MyLVHN, the health network’s patient portal:
    Sign In Sign Up

You may need to request proxy access to your child’s MyLVHN account to schedule their appointment. To do so, please contact your child’s provider. If your child does not have an LVHN provider, please call 888-402-LVHN (5846).

  1. Call our COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). We’re open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

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Through MyLVHN or the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, you can schedule a booster for teenagers in this age group at one of LVHN’s locations. You can also schedule through LVPG primary care locations.

  1. LVPG primary care locations
  2. LVPG Pediatrics–Trexlertown
  3. LVPG Pediatrics–Richland Township

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