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LVHN Offering Second Dose of Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Shot for Both 65+ and Immunocompromised People

Updated vaccine recommendations change vaccine eligibility and availability

Spring 2023 Bivalent Booster Update

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COVID-19 bivalent mRNA booster shots are available at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) with second doses of the booster now being offered to adults age 65 and older as well as immunocompromised people 6 years and older. Those who are eligible and interested can receive the bivalent booster by scheduling an appointment with their Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) primary care physician’s office.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently amended the emergency use authorizations of the COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The new guidelines recommend the use of bivalent mRNA vaccines for all primary vaccine series and booster shots. The bivalent vaccines include the original COVID vaccine as well as an updated component aimed at the BA.4 and BA.5 variants which currently cause the majority of worldwide COVID infections. The original monovalent vaccines will no longer be available for use in the United States.

The CDC recommends bivalent boosters for everyone 6 months and older who has completed the initial vaccine series but has not received a bivalent booster. In addition, the CDC authorized a second bivalent booster for the two groups with the greatest risk of severe COVID infections – adults age 65 and older and people with immunocompromising conditions. However, to receive a second bivalent booster, it must be at least four months since the first bivalent booster was administered.

The new authorization also simplifies the vaccine series for almost all age groups. Bivalent versions of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be used for all people 6 months and older who were not previously vaccinated. For people 6 years and older, only a single dose of the bivalent vaccine is required to complete the vaccine series.

Despite continued decreases in COVID cases across the country, the U.S. is still seeing more than 1,000 COVID-19-related deaths every week. “Vaccination remains one of our most important tools to reduce the risk of serious complications related to COVID-19,” says Timothy Friel, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, infectious diseases specialist, LVHN. “This is particularly important in those individuals who are most vulnerable and at highest risk for hospitalization and death following infection.”

“As always, we encourage patients to discuss any questions about their personal risk and need for bivalent boosters with their primary care or specialty care physicians or other health care provider.” - Timothy Friel, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine

People who are vaccinated but who have not previously received a bivalent booster shot should strongly consider scheduling a booster, particularly for the following:  

  • Older adults
  • Immunocompromised children and adults age 6 years or older
  • Those with multiple medical issues that place them at higher risk for severe outcomes and hospitalization related to COVID-19

“As always, we encourage patients to discuss any questions about their personal risk and need for bivalent boosters with their primary care or specialty care physicians or other health care provider,” Dr. Friel says.

To schedule a COVID-19 bivalent vaccination or booster, you can log in to MyLVHN, the patient portal, and select “Schedule Vaccine Appointment,” found under the menu icon. From there, a list of LVPG locations where the vaccine is available will be listed. You can also call your practice and schedule directly, if desired.

If your child who needs a COVID-19 vaccination or booster, you can call your child’s LVPG Pediatrics office directly or send a secure message through your child’s MyLVHN account. (Note: You will need proxy access to your child’s MyLVHN account to do that.)

COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccines

Here you’ll find information about scheduling a vaccination appointment through your LVPG primary care physician’s office. You can schedule your appointment through MyLVHN or by calling your primary care office directly.

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