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COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

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COVID-19 boosters are now available for all adults 18 and older who have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Book your booster now.

The Coronavirus Vaccine

Protect yourself, your family, and your community by getting your Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. If we all do our part to get vaccinated, we can slow the spread of Coronavirus and its variants.

At AHN, we’re doing all we can to get shots into the arms of those who need them. With multiple locations and walk-in clinics, scheduling your very first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine — or getting your booster — is simple and easy.

What you need to know about boosters

Right now, COVID-19 vaccine boosters are available and recommended for all individuals 18 years of age and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.

This means you can schedule your booster today:

  • If you received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and it has been six months since your second dose.
  • If you received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and it has been two months since your dose.
  • If you’re immunocompromised and received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and it has been at least 28 days since your second dose.

The mix-and-match approach

The FDA, with support from the CDC, recently authorized a “mix-and-match” approach to boosters — meaning you can get your initial vaccine from one manufacturer and your booster from another.

Keep this in mind when booking your booster. If you fall into one of the eligibility categories above, you can receive any of the three approved vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson.

Vaccine and Booster Appointments

Whether you need to schedule your very first vaccine appointment or receive your booster, AHN is here to help.

coronavirus vaccine vials

Have questions about the vaccine? We have answers.

Take a look at common FAQs surrounding the Coronavirus vaccine. Check back often as information is changing regularly.

Vaccine Boosters

Children Getting Vaccinated

Adults Getting Vaccinated

Vaccine Safety

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Update 

About the Coronavirus Vaccine

Vaccine Boosters

I heard there are now booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. Is that true?

Yes, that’s true. The FDA gave emergency use authorization for all three vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — to be used as boosters.

Right now, boosters are available and recommended for all individuals 18 years of age and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine. 

To provide better protection against COVID-19 and its variants, the CDC recommends that people get the booster as soon as they’re eligible.

What is the mix-and-match approach?

Once you’ve completed your initial vaccine series, you can “mix and match” your booster from any of the three approved manufacturers — Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson.

For example, if it’s been six months since you received your second dose of the Moderna vaccine, you could receive a booster from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson.

Is the mix-and-match approach safe?

Yes. The mix-and-match approach has been studied and proven safe and effective. Initial data shows that switching manufacturers between the initial series and booster raised Coronavirus antibody levels. Switching manufacturers also did not cause any notable side effects. 

Where can I get my booster?

 If you qualify, you can book your booster with AHN right now.

All AHN primary care offices are also offering boosters. Call your doctor’s office directly to book.

What is a booster shot?

A booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine. Boosters are given when the initial protection of a vaccine begins to weaken.

How long should I wait to receive my booster after my second dose?

If you’re immunocompromised and received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, you should receive your booster at least 28 days after your second dose.

If you received the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and you are 18 years or older, you should receive your booster six months after your second dose.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and it has been at least two months, you should receive your booster. This also applies if you’re immunocompromised.

I’m not eligible for a booster because I’m under 18. Could that change?

It could. The guidance on boosters is evolving rapidly. The FDA and CDC are closely monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic and making eligibility recommendations based on the vaccine data they receive. As new research and information becomes available, the current booster recommendations may change. Check back often for updates.

If I’m immunocompromised, should my booster be from the same manufacturer as my original vaccine series?

It doesn’t have to be. According to the CDC, if you’re eligible for a booster, you can choose from Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, no matter which shot(s) you received initially — even if you’re immunocompromised.

Should children 12 and older who are immunocompromised get the booster?

Yes, they are eligible to receive the booster. Chat with the child’s care team before scheduling.

What does it mean to be immunocompromised? How do I know if I qualify?

Immunocompromised people are typically those who have received an organ transplant or have another condition that weakens their immune systems. In particular, most immunocompromised folks fall into one of these specific categories:

  • Active treatment for cancer
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

If you think you qualify, chat with your health care team about when you should receive your booster.

Getting vaccinated as a child

Why should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Coronavirus is a serious disease with life-threatening consequences. We don’t know the potential long-term effects of Coronavirus and what that could mean for children as they grow.

The COVID-19 vaccine is scientifically proven to protect your child from Coronavirus and minimize symptoms should your child contract the virus. It’s also the best way to slow the spread within our communities, keep our schools safe, and protect other at-risk family members — like newborns and grandparents.

Where can I go to get my child a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you’re an existing AHN Pediatrics patient, call your specific office to schedule your child’s vaccination appointment.

If you’re an existing AHN family medicine patient, call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

If you’re not an existing AHN patient, check our online scheduler for upcoming clinics, call your specific pediatric office, or visit a local pharmacy.

Why is there only one version of the vaccine available to children ages 5-18?

Right now, the FDA has only given emergency use authorization to the Pfizer-BioNTech version of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer completed clinical trials with this age group and submitted data for approval. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines could be available in the future.

Will my child need two doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine?

Yes. Just like the adult version, two doses, three weeks apart, will be necessary. Adolescents aged 12-18 will receive the same dosage as adults, while children ages 5-11 will receive a smaller dosage.

When will children 4 and under be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

There currently isn’t enough data to support authorization of the vaccine to kids 4 years old and younger. As additional clinical trials are completed, this group could be eligible for the vaccine at a later date. 

Will my child need a booster?

It’s possible that kids who get a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for a booster in the future. For the time being, book your child’s first dose and stay tuned for additional booster information. 

What side effects might my child have after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? How can I ease these side effects?

Like adults, vaccine trial participants noted mild to moderate side effects such as arm soreness, feeling lethargic, chills, fever, achy muscles, and joint pain. These side effects are a sign that the body is having a strong immune response to the vaccine, and some people don’t have any side effects at all. If your child has a history of allergies, please speak to your pediatrician.

To help with these side effects, you can give your child ibuprofen (like Advil), antihistamines, or acetaminophen (like Tylenol). Talk to your pediatrician about what’s most appropriate for your child based on their age and weight. Giving your child pain relievers before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine affect my child’s other immunization schedule?

The COVID-19 vaccine does not affect your child’s other immunizations. In fact, children can receive other vaccines at the same time — including a flu shot. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s specific immunization schedule.

My child has an underlying condition, is vaccinating still recommended?

In most cases, yes. The COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to keep your child safe from Coronavirus — and is especially important for people with high-risk medical conditions. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s specific medical history and getting vaccinated.

My child already had Coronavirus, is vaccinating still recommended?

Yes. Just like adults, all individuals — even those who previously had Coronavirus — should be vaccinated. The immunity gained from the vaccine may be longer-lasting than natural immunity from the infection.

Should my child continue to wear a mask after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Please continue to follow the safety guidelines outlined in your local community or school district. Until all children receive their vaccines, wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands regularly is still necessary to help slow the spread. 

Adults Getting Vaccinated

Find your reason. Get your shot.

When and where can I get the Coronavirus vaccine?

You can get your COVID-19 vaccine free of charge at many convenient locations — your AHN doctor’s office, other AHN facilities, or at your local pharmacy. If you'd like to schedule with AHN, use our online scheduling tool or call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677.

Do I need an appointment to receive the vaccine?

Yes, in most cases you’ll need to schedule an appointment first. To book with AHN, use our online scheduling tool or call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677. You may also reach out to local pharmacies or other providers to schedule.

How much will a Coronavirus vaccine cost?

The vaccine is free to all Americans.

If the vaccine is free, why are you asking for my insurance information?

The vaccine itself is paid for through funding authorized by the CARES Act. However, the administration of the vaccine by a health care provider is paid for by your insurance carrier.

Providers are prohibited, by agreement with the U.S. government, from billing patients for the vaccine or its administration, including balance billing.

What if I do not have insurance?

The vaccine is still free of charge. Providers are prohibited, by agreement with the U.S. government, from billing patients for the vaccine or its administration, including balance billing.

Will I need my doctor to prescribe the vaccine for me?

No, a prescription or doctor order isn't necessary to receive the vaccine.

Why should I get the Coronavirus vaccine?

Coronavirus is a serious, life-threatening virus. It has infected millions of people worldwide and continues to pose a threat to our livelihood. Vaccinating is the safest, most effective way to build protection against this virus. If everyone makes an effort to vaccinate, we can work toward the population developing “herd immunity.” Ultimately, this will slow the spread.

If we all do our part and receive a vaccine when it’s available to us, we can work together to eradicate Coronavirus. Learn more about vaccine safety from the CDC

Am I really helping my community by getting the vaccine?

Absolutely. Getting vaccinated isn’t only about you — it’s about your family, friends, and community. The vaccine has been proven to protect against COVID-19, and even when a vaccinated person does become symptomatic — a breakthrough infection — that person is far less likely to experience severe symptoms.

By getting vaccinated, you’re protecting our most vulnerable populations: children who are too young to receive the vaccine and those who have diseases that prevent them from being fully protected. By receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, you’re doing your part to keep our society safe and healthy.

After I am vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing?

Yes, until most of the country is vaccinated, you should still follow recommended safety practices — wear a mask, socially distance, and frequently wash your hands. Remember, no vaccine is 100% effective, so we must all do our part to avoid breakthrough infections and protect those who cannot, or refuse, to get vaccinated.

If I have Coronavirus antibodies, do I still need to receive the vaccine?

Yes, the vaccine is still recommended. Some antibody tests are not specific enough to guarantee that you actually had Coronavirus. Also, it appears that the vaccine offers longer and more comprehensive immunity against COVID-19 variants.

I had Coronavirus. Do I still need to receive the vaccine?         

Yes, the vaccine is still recommended. Current data suggests that the immunity gained from the vaccine is longer-lasting than natural immunity from the infection.

I already received my flu shot. Do I need the Coronavirus vaccine?

Yes. The flu shot is a great way to protect yourself from the seasonal flu. However, it will not protect you from Coronavirus. 

Do I have to receive the Coronavirus vaccine?

The vaccine has been proven effective in protecting against Coronavirus and slowing the spread of the virus. Because of this scientific evidence, many companies are now mandating that employees get vaccinated to keep everyone safe and businesses operating smoothly.

As a health network, AHN sees the undeniable value in the COVID-19 vaccine and strongly encourages all our employees to get it — barring a religious or medical exemption.

Getting the vaccine is critical to protecting yourself, your loved ones, and the community. You can help bring an end to the pandemic.

Vaccine Safety

Dr. Imran Qadeer talks about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine

Should I get the vaccine? Is it safe?

Absolutely. All three vaccines have gone through rigorous testing and have been approved for use in several other countries worldwide. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has received full FDA approval. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous standards for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

No different than someone receiving a chickenpox or measles vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect against Coronavirus and keep everyone as safe as possible.

I heard the Coronavirus vaccines all first received emergency use approval. What does that mean?

That’s correct. The FDA initially gave the vaccines what’s called Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). With millions of Coronavirus cases in the United States alone, EUA was given to make the vaccine available as quickly as possible.

EUA does not mean that safety was compromised or that the vaccine somehow skipped deep analysis and testing. It simply means that this vaccine was prioritized above all others and that multiple steps worked in parallel together. It was a collaborative, all-in effort by the FDA to address this public health crisis and keep our communities safe.

Is it true that one of the vaccines received full FDA approval?

That’s right — the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been granted full FDA approval for administration to anyone 16 and up. Read more about the approval here. Other manufacturers are going through a similar process to receive full FDA approval. 

What are the side effects of the vaccine? 

Vaccine trial participants noted mild to moderate side effects — like soreness at the injection site, feeling lethargic, chills, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain. While some of those side effects may seem extreme, it’s actually quite encouraging. It means that your body has a strong immune response to the vaccine.

Some people have also experienced allergic reactions. If you have a history of allergies, speak with your doctor first.

Can I become infected with Coronavirus as a result of the vaccine?

No, you cannot get Coronavirus from the COVID-19 vaccine. It does not contain the virus.

Keep in mind, no vaccine is 100% effective. However, your chances of contracting Coronavirus, or developing severe symptoms if you do, drastically decrease after receiving the vaccine.

I’m pregnant, should I get the vaccine?

Absolutely, yes. All major OB-GYN medical groups recommend COVID-19 vaccination prior to or during pregnancy. We now know that COVID-19 infection can be very severe in pregnant women, potentially leading to complications for both the mother and unborn baby. Discuss any concerns you may have with your OB-GYN and book your vaccine. 

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Update 

Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being used again?

Yes. On April 23, 2021, the CDC and FDA recommended that the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine be lifted, and distribution of the vaccine be resumed.

Why was the pause lifted?

After a thorough safety review, the FDA and CDC have confidence that this version of the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and that the benefits far outweigh any potential risks.

Read more on the safety assessment here.

Why was distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine paused?

On April 13, 2021, the CDC and FDA recommended that administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine be paused.

This halt was done out of an abundance of caution after six female recipients, between age 18 and 48, developed a rare blood clot disorder — known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis — within about two weeks of vaccination.

Nearly 7 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and this blood clot disorder appears to be extremely rare.

I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, what should I do?

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and develop severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, contact your health care provider or seek immediate medical attention. Do not delay receiving care if you have any of these symptoms

What other steps is AHN taking in regard to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

  • We have followed the recommendation of the CDC, FDA, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health and resumed distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 
  • To date, AHN hasn’t received any reports of this rare blood clotting condition from folks who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at our clinics.
  • We’ll continue to also administer the the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which have not raised this safety concern.
  • As always, we’ll continue to update our patients and those we’ve vaccinated as additional information becomes available.

About the COVID-19 Vaccine 

Dr. Stephanie Miller explains the basics of COVID-19 and the vaccine

Who manufactures the Coronavirus vaccine?

There are currently three manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. To learn more about each vaccine, how it's made and efficacy rates, take a look at this helpful resource from the CDC.

Isn’t this a new type of vaccine?

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's vaccines are a new generation of vaccine called mRNA. mRNA vaccines are hardly a new idea — they have been under development for almost 20 years. Learn exactly what that means here.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, and you can read about how that works here.

How are the vaccines administered?

To be effective, Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine will be given in two separate doses, 21 days apart, with a two-day leeway on either end. That means you need to receive your second dose between 19 and 23 days after your first.

The Moderna vaccine is similar. It will be given in two separate doses, in this case, 28 days apart. When the vaccine is available to you, it's important you take the time to get both doses.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine. It is administered once.

Can I choose which Coronavirus vaccine I receive?

Yes, in some cases, you can. Many pharmacies and doctors’ offices will list which vaccine and vaccine manufacturer is available. Feel free to ask before getting your shot.

With our supply, AHN facilities are mostly offering Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Moderna vaccines are more limited. 

Coronavirus vaccine availability and appointments

AHN offers vaccine and booster appointments at multiple locations throughout the community. We are prepared to vaccinate as many people as we can, as quickly as we can.