COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters and Third Shots

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) offers booster shots for adults 18 years and older, as well as third dose immunizations of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people 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 specified medical conditions, and booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines for people 18 years and older.

Booster shots

Booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (J&J ) are now available for adults 18 years and older.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots can be given six months after the initial two-dose series was completed.

J&J COVID-19 vaccine booster can be given at least two months after the initial one-shot J&J vaccination for those 18 and older.

FAQs for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

Q: When will COVID-19 booster shots be available through LVHN?

A: COVID-19 booster shots are available as of Monday, Oct. 25, and expanded to all adults 18 years and older starting Nov. 22. Booster shots will be administered at LVHN vaccine clinics. For people who have completed the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, you can get a booster six months after completion of that initial series. J&J COVID-19 vaccine booster can be given at least two months after the initial one-shot J&J vaccination for those 18 and older.

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
    • Click the “Menu” button.
    • Select “COVID-19 Vaccine 3rd Dose Booster.”
    • Then select “COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters
    • Read the information and questions regarding booster shot eligibility. If you are 18 or older, have completed the dose(s) required for vaccination and the appropriate time frame has passed since vaccination (two months since Johnson & Johnson vaccination, or six months after completing Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine series), select “Yes,” and then select “Continue.”
    • You can then select the location, date and time for your booster shot.
  • 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: It’s recommended to wait at least six months before receiving a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months after receiving the one-dose J&J vaccine. However, 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.

Q: Who is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

A: All adults 18 years and older are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

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).

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: If I am immunocompromised, when can I receive a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, you can schedule a third dose through MyLVHN, the patient portal, by calling the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD), or going to one of LVHN’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics. The third shot should be at least 28 days after the second dose shot.

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: 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 Dose Booster.”
    • You will be presented with questions concerning a vaccine booster. Answer, "No," and then select "Continue."
    • Then you will be presented with a list of conditions pertaining to third shots for immunocompromised people. Answer “Yes,” then select “Continue.”
  • 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 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: 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: 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: Are 12-17-year-olds who are immunocompromised eligible for the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Those individuals ages 12-17 who are immunocompromised can only get the Pfizer vaccine because that is the only vaccine that has FDA Emergency Use Authorization for that age group.

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.

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