COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters and Third Shots

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) offers booster shots for people 12 years and older, as well as third dose immunizations of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for adults and children age 5 years and older who have moderately or severely compromised immune systems.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have authorized third shots of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are immunocompromised, including children age 5 years and older, and booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines for people 18 years and older, and 12-17-year-olds who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series.

This page was last updated on 1/12/2022 at 8:01 PM.

Booster shots

COVID-19 booster shots are available for adults and children age 12 and up under emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adults 18 years and older: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (J&J) booster shots are available. Pfizer-BioNTech booster can be given five months after the initial two-dose series is completed. Moderna booster can be given five months after the initial two-dose series is completed. Individuals who received a J&J COVID-19 vaccine should receive a booster (preferably Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) two months after the initial one-shot J&J vaccination.

Children and teens 12-17 years: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots are available for children 12-17 years of age, five months after the initial two-dose series is completed.

FAQs for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

VIDEO: Why should I get a COVID-19 booster shot?

Q: Who is eligible for COVID-19 booster shots?

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 12-17. Timing for boosters is:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech booster: Five months after the initial two-dose series is completed.
  • Moderna booster: Five months after the initial two-dose series is completed.
  • Johnson & Johnson booster: Two months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson vaccine although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the mRNA vaccine boosters (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster because the mRNA vaccines have been proven more effective and there have been rare (but severe) safety issues related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

 

Q: Which booster shot should I get?

A: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends the mRNA vaccine boosters (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster, regardless of which vaccine series you received previously.

This is because the mRNA vaccines have been proven more effective and there have been rare (but severe) safety issues related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine initially, it’s recommended that you get a booster dose from the same manufacturer as your original vaccine series. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine initially, you should receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as your booster.

If you are unable to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (due to allergies or other medical concerns), the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still available and recommended over not getting a booster shot.

Q: How do I schedule a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?

A: Scheduling is required and can be done through MyLVHN or by telephone:

  • MyLVHN, our patient portal – MyLVHN app and MyLVHN.org
    • Log in to your MyLVHN account
    • Select the "Your Menu" button
    • Choose “Schedule COVID-19 Vaccine–3rd and Booster Shots”

Follow the prompts and choose the location and time that work best for you.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline – 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). The hotline is open Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Q: Where will COVID-19 booster shots be given?

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.

Q: How long do I have to wait until after my last Pfizer, Moderna or J&J shot to get a booster dose of the vaccine?

A: Timing for boosters is:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech booster: Five months after the initial two-dose series is completed.
  • Moderna booster: Five months after the initial two-dose series is completed.
  • Johnson & Johnson: Two months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson vaccine although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the mRNA vaccine boosters (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine booster because the mRNA vaccines have been proven more effective and there have been rare (but severe) safety issues related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine

If you have a moderately or severely compromised immune system, you can get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 28 days after the completion of your initial two-shot series of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Children 5 and older can receive a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after completion of the two-shot series.

Q: What are the underlying medical conditions may put a person more at-risk for COVID-19 infection or severe illness?

A: Medical conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher but less than 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe obesity (BMI equal to or greater than 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Q: What side effects might I have if I receive a booster dose?

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:

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

 

Q: Is there a cost for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?

A: A COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is free.

FAQs for Third Shot of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna

Q: How do I schedule a third dose COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Registration is required and can be done through MyLVHN or telephone:

  • MyLVHN, our patient portal – MyLVHN app and MyLVHN.org
    • Click the “Menu” button.
    • Select “COVID-19 Vaccine 3rd and Booster Shots.”
    • Follow the prompts and choose the location and time that work best for you.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline – 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD). The hotline is open Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

 

Q: Why might I need to receive a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine?

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.

 

Q: Are 12-17-year-olds who are immunocompromised eligible for the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Individuals age 12-17 who are immunocompromised can receive a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine 28 days after their second shot. That is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization for that age group.

 

Q. When can children age 5-11 who are immunocompromised get their third shot?

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 is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization for that age group.

 

Q: What conditions may mean I am immunocompromised?

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.

Third dose shots can be given to individuals with any of the following conditions, or those directed to receive a third dose by their physician:

  • Patients receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Organ transplant recipients who are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Those who received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Patients with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Those with advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Patients undergoing active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response

A full list of conditions is available on the CDC website, cdc.gov.

Q: Where will COVID-19 third shots be given?

A: COVID-19 vaccinations (first dose, second dose and third dose) will 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 here.

Q: Do I need to provide proof that I qualify for a third shot of COVID-19 vaccine?

A: While LVHN will not require proof of an immunocompromising condition or COVID antibody levels, patients will be asked if they have one of the immunocompromising conditions defined by the CDC. If the patient doesn’t have one of the listed immunocompromising conditions, they can attest that their medical provider agrees they are immunocompromised for other reasons and would benefit from an additional dose.

Q: How long do I have to wait until after my last Pfizer or Moderna shot to get a third dose of the vaccine?

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.

Q: What side effects might I have if I receive a third dose?

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.

Q: I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and also am immunocompromised. Can I get a second shot of the J&J vaccine?

A: The FDA did not provide guidance for those who are immunocompromised and received the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Currently there is not enough data to support additional vaccination. Those individuals should consult their physician.

Q: If I get the third shot (as an immunocompromised individual), will I be protected from COVID-19?

A: Immunocompromised patients who get a third shot are encouraged to continue taking physical precautions to help prevent COVID-19 infection.

Q: Is there a cost for the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: As with previous COVID-19 vaccinations, a third vaccine shot is free.

FAQs: COVID-19 Vaccine

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