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COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics Are Available

COVID vaccine clinics will be held each Wednesday in Lebanon through December 15th and beginning again on January 5th.

Location of Clinic: 600 Corporate Drive (off US 22), Lebanon, New Jersey

Next Clinic: December 1, 2021
3:30 pm – 7:00 pm

To schedule an appointment, please use our COVID-19 Vaccination Patient Self-Scheduler. Walk-ins are also welcomed!

If you need assistance with scheduling an appointment, please call the Hunterdon Healthcare Vaccination Scheduling Center at (908) 237-4238, weekdays between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and a representative can assist you.

Hunterdon Healthcare has available appointments at our upcoming Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics for:

  • 1st  & 2nd dose of Pfizer vaccine for children age 5 -11.
  • 1st  & 2nd doses of Pfizer & Moderna vaccinations are available for persons age 12+.
  • Boosters for Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations are available for persons aged 18+. Patients may mix and match. *See details below.
  • Third dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations, for immunocompromised individuals, are also available. **See details below.

*Booster Shot Details

  • Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine: People who are 18 and older who received a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive a booster shot of any of the three available vaccines, at least two months after their shot.
  • Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines: People who are 18 and older who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can receive a booster shot of any of the three available vaccines, at least six months after their second shot.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

**Third Dose Details

People with moderate or severe immune system deficiencies should get an additional Pfizer or Moderna shot, at least four weeks after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot, including those who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People who want a third dose should identify themselves as immunocompromised, and proof of immunocompromised status is not required.

The third dose should be of the same product as the initial vaccine series and should be delivered at least four weeks after the second shot. However, if the vaccine administered previously is not available, Pfizer or Moderna may be substituted with one another when administered as additional doses to moderately to severely immunocompromised people.

“Third Doses” vs “Booster Shots”

Additional vaccine shots are currently recommended for one of two reasons:

  • For immunocompromised individuals, the two-dose vaccine may not provide the same level of immunity as it does to non-immunocompromised individuals. A “third dose” of the vaccine helps their immune system build up enough protection against COVID-19.
  • For other individuals, their immune protection against COVID-19 may weaken over time. A “booster shot” helps their immune system boost up its defenses against COVID-19.

Potential reactions to the PFIZER and MODERNA booster are the same as the previous vaccinations. Any previous reaction or lack thereof does not predict reactions from the booster.

Arriving for Your Vaccination

  • Appointments are preferred but walk-ins are welcomed.
  • Please do not arrive until your scheduled time.
  • You must be eligible to receive a COVID vaccination or COVID booster. Please check eligibility criteria if you are uncertain.
  • If receiving the Pfizer or Moderna booster vaccine you must have received two prior doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago.
  • You must bring your valid driver’s license/photo identification and insurance card(s).
  • Bring your current vaccination card so we can verify your vaccine dates and also update your card with your booster information. If you do not have your vaccination card your vaccine information is available through the free iOS/Android app, DOCKET, provided by the New Jersey Department of Health, and available for download in the Apple Store or Google Play Store. If your COVID-19 vaccination card is not available, you can show your vaccine information through this app on your mobile device to our registrars to verify your information. Your Pfizer or Moderna booster vaccine information will later appear in this app for your convenience.
  • You must wait 15 minutes after your vaccination before leaving or 30 minutes if you have a history of severe allergic reactions.

Additional Information

  • There is not a required wait period between receiving your flu vaccination and the PFIZER OR MODERNA vaccine. You can receive them on the same day if so desired however, flu vaccinations will not be offered at these clinics. This is a change from the 2020 CDC guidance.

Important Updates

UPDATE – November 19, 2021: CDC has expanded recommendations for booster shots to now include all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine as part of their primary series. Get more information and read CDC’s media statement.

UPDATE – November 3, 2021: CDC Recommends Pediatric COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine for Children 5 to 11 Years

COVID-19 Vaccine Ages 5-11 Fact Check

Children have stronger immune systems and are more resilient. Even if they get COVID-19 they aren’t likely to be hospitalized. They don’t need the COVID-19 vaccine.
Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Although COVID-19 is sickening and killing fewer children than adults, that does not mean children are free from risk. More than 6 million children have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 23,500 were hospitalized from it. And, according to the CDC, over 600 children ages 18 and under have died from COVID-19. It is now the sixth leading cause of death for children in the US! Vaccinating children age 5 and up will also help slow the spread of the disease to infants and children too young to be vaccinated, and to at-risk adults, thereby reducing hospitalization and even deaths.

It’s too risky to get my child vaccinated. They could develop myocarditis from the vaccine.
Actually, a child’s risk of developing myocarditis from a COVID-19 INFECTION is 37 times higher than the risk of developing myocarditis after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, almost all of the reported cases of myocarditis after receiving the vaccine are mild and the children generally get better very quickly. It is also important to understand that children who contract COVID-19 could develop a fatal complication called multisystem inflammatory syndrome or “MIS-C.” Children can also develop “long COVID” after infection, interrupting their education and their lives. Providing your child with the COVID-19 vaccine not only helps to prevent them from contracting COVID-19 but also protects them from other potentially more serious conditions that may appear as a result of COVID-19.

I make sure my child wears a mask when they go to school or are out in public. The mask gives them sufficient protection from COVID-19.
While studies show that using layers of protection, including improving ventilation and wearing masks, has effectively slowed the COVID-19 virus from spreading in places like schools that are consistently enforcing these measures, vaccination is truly the most effective “layer” there is. The COVID-19 vaccine offers a tangible opportunity for everyone, children and adults, to return to a more normal daily life.

I feel that the COVID-19 vaccine was approved too quickly for children.
COVID-19 vaccines are subject to the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history and in October 2021, the FDA reported that it found ZERO deaths or “significant adverse events” in Pfizer’s early COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids. The mRNA technology behind Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines is not new. It has been under development for decades. For many years, the problem was cost – mRNA vaccines were considered too expensive to manufacture and difficult to scale. Due to the significant global investments made in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, cost hurdles were overcome. There were NO shortcuts in testing the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are too many possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine that may hurt my child later on.
The potential side effects monitored and recorded in the COVID-19 children’s clinical trials were similar but less noticeable to those found with teens and adults. These side effects include pain at the injection site, fatigue or headaches after their second dose, fever, and/or chills. The Pfizer vaccine dose for children aged 5-11 is lower than the adult dose but equally effective, with less common minor side effects. Vaccinations, in general, don’t create long-term health problems and the COVID-19 vaccines are no exception.

I’ve been told or read that the COVID-19 vaccines can affect my child’s future fertility or their development through puberty.
These are myths with absolutely no substantiating data. The mRNA vaccine does not alter anyone’s genes, child or adult, regardless of age or stage of development, and does not change fertility in any way.

My child recently received the flu shot. I need to wait before I get them the COVID-19 vaccine.
There isn’t a required waiting period between the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine, and neither affects the other. If you wanted, you could allow your child to receive both vaccinations on the same day/during the same visit.

UPDATE – September 23, 2021: The FDA authorizes COVID-19 PFIZER booster vaccines six months after the second PFIZER dose for people aged 65 years and older, people aged 18-64 years who have underlying medical conditions (see list below), and people aged 18-64 years who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of an occupational or institutional setting.

Medical Conditions for PFIZER Booster Vaccine Eligibility*

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma (moderate to severe), interstitial lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension.
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension.
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight and obesity (BMI > 25)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking (current or former)
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
  • Substance use disorders

*List provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://cdc.gov/coronavirus).

UPDATE – August 23, 2021: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Receives Full Approval by FDA

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

UPDATE – June 24, 2021: AAP Supports COVID-19 Vaccinations for Teens

The American Academy of Pediatrics joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 14 other medical organizations to issue a statement in support of COVID-19 vaccines, in light of the data presented regarding myocarditis. Please follow the link to read the complete statement.

UPDATE – June 22, 2021: Summer Pfizer Vaccination Clinics at HMC

Whether you’re looking to get your child vaccinated before returning to school or need to get the family vaccinated to take a cruise, Hunterdon Medical Center is offering convenient first dose COVID-19 vaccination clinics on the second Wednesday of every month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., July 14, 2021, through September 8, 2021. Second dose appointments will be scheduled at the first dose appointment.

Appointments can be made through our Online Appointment Scheduler (Click Here) or by calling our Vaccination Scheduling Center at (908) 237-4238. Our representatives will be happy to help you schedule an appointment weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

UPDATE – May 10, 2021: FDA Authorizes COVID-19 Pfizer Vaccine for Teens Ages 12 -15

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. The FDA amended the EUA originally issued on December 11, 2020, for administration in individuals 16 years of age and older.

UPDATE – April 23, 2021: Resumption of J&J Vaccine

The State of New Jersey Department of Health has shared notification of the resumption of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine usage.

Administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine may continue for persons 18 years of age and older upon the release of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) revised emergency use authorization (EUA) with updated facts sheets for patients and for providers.

UPDATE – APRIL 19, 2021: New Eligibility Groups Announced

The CDC and NJDOH have opened COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all individuals age 16 years and older. Please note, the only vaccine approved for teens age 16-17 is Pfizer. If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, please include your name on our vaccination waitlist to be scheduled for an appointment at an upcoming Hunterdon Healthcare COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

UPDATE – APRIL 13, 2021 FDA, CDC Call for Pause in Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

  • The FDA and CDC have called for a pause on the use of the J&J vaccine after six of the 6.8 million people who have received the vaccine experienced severe blood clots.
  • Tomorrow, the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to further discuss these reported cases of blood clots and determine the best and safest course to follow. We expect additional federal guidance will follow and will share any new information as soon as it’s available.
  • Vaccination will continue at our site using the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. These vaccines are not a part of this safety review.
  • According to the CDC, FDA, and NJDOH, individuals who have received the J&J vaccine, and experience abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath, severe headache or other unusual symptoms within three weeks after vaccination should contact their healthcare provider.

FAQs

If you lost your COVID-19 vaccination card, you can request your immunization record by visiting the New Jersey Immunization Information System (NJIIS).

Once on this page, complete the following actions:

  1. Click on “Submit a Request” from the top blue ribbon.
  2. Click “I want to request a copy of my immunization record from NJIIS”, which will open a form that you need to complete. Note: You will need to attach a copy of your photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include: a state-issued photo driver’s license with address; a state-issued photo non-driver’s identification card with address; a similar form of identification issued by this State, another state, or the Federal government; or a photo identification card issued by a New Jersey County Clerk.
  3. If you wish to have a copy of the COVID-19 vaccine lot number, please write this in the description section of the ticket.
  4. Click “Send” to submit your request, and your request will typically be processed within 24-48 business hours.

Note: All immunization records will be mailed. They cannot be emailed.

If I received my first dose of Pfizer or Moderna does my second dose have to be the same brand?
Yes. Your second dose appointment will be made when you arrive for your first dose.

If I received my first vaccine somewhere other than Hunterdon Healthcare can I receive my second vaccine at Hunterdon?
No. Second doses of vaccine are distributed to vaccination sites specifically for the individuals who received their first dose at that site. You should receive your second dose at the same facility as your first dose. If your first dose of vaccine was received out-of-state and you are not able to return to that state for your second dose, please contact our Vaccination Scheduling Call Center at (908) 237-4238 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for guidance.

Where else can I get the vaccine in the area?
Please visit the NJ Vaccine Schedule System: https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/ for a list of vaccination locations.

If you registered through the state vaccine site you will first be notified when you become eligible for the vaccine and then notified again when an appointment is available to you through their scheduling system.

If I am not a Hunterdon County resident or do not work in Hunterdon County can I get the vaccine from you?
Hunterdon Healthcare is permitted to administer vaccines to all individuals who live, work, go to school, and/or receive medical care in the State of New Jersey. Eligibility is not restricted to the specific county in which you live or work.

If I am feeling sick on the day of my vaccine appointment can I still receive it?
Please call your Primary Care provider for individualized instructions.

What are the differences between the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made using messenger RNA, or mRNA, a technology that delivers a bit of genetic code to cells — in effect, a recipe to make the surface protein (known as spike) on the SARS-2 virus. The proteins made with the mRNA instructions activate the immune system, teaching it to see the spike protein as foreign and develop antibodies and other immunity weapons with which to fight it.

The J&J vaccine uses a different approach to instruct human cells to make the SARS-2 spike protein, which then triggers an immune response. It is what’s known as a viral vector vaccine. A harmless adenovirus that can’t make you sick has been engineered to carry the genetic code for the SARS-2 spike protein. Once the adenovirus enters cells, they use that code to make spike proteins.

The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for use for people aged 12 and older. Moderna’s has been cleared for use in people 18 and older. J&J’s vaccine has been cleared for people 18 and older.

The Pfizer vaccine showed an efficacy of 95% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection after two doses. The Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after the second dose. Comparing the efficacy of those vaccines to the efficacy of Johnson & Johnson’s is challenging because of differences in the designs of Phase 3 clinical tests. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s trials both tested for any symptomatic COVID-19 infection. Pfizer started counting cases seven days after receipt of the second dose of vaccine, while Moderna waited until day 14 to start counting cases.

J&J, by contrast, sought to determine whether one dose of its vaccine protected against moderate to severe COVID-19 illness — defined as a combination of a positive test and at least one symptom such as shortness of breath, beginning from 14 or 28 days after the single shot. (The company collected data for both.)

There are two other key differences in the study data: geography and calendar. The studies were done in different locations where different strains were circulating. And they were done during different months when the amount of virus in the community differed.

Because of the difference in the trials, making direct comparisons is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. The J&J one-dose vaccine was shown to be 85% protective against severe disease.

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