COVID-19 Vaccine Third Shot

For people who may have moderately or severely compromised immune systems (immunocompromised), Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) can administer a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

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Based on recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may receive a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The two mRNA vaccines that have Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA are Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

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 2 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 encouraged and can be done through:

  • MyLVHN, our patient portal – MyLVHN app and MyLVHN.org
  • On LVHN’s website – LVHN.org/vaccines
  • 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.

Q: I am not immunocompromised but would like a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine – can I get a third shot?

A: For members of the community who are not immunocompromised and have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, additional shots are not recommended at this time. Clinical trials are still underway to determine the need for an additional shot for the general public.

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