LAST UPDATED: November 4, 2021

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HMH continues to proudly offer all three of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to our patients and members of the community. Schedule your vaccine appointment today!. Hackensack Meridian Health is offering the Covid-19 vaccine to all eligible people ages 5 and older. Our sites offer first, second and third doses where recommended.

COVID Booster

Total COVID-19 Vaccines Administered at HMH
372,529 First Dose
340,803 Fully Vaccinated
713,332 Total Vaccines
Last Updated December 7, 2021.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Update

Pfizer

  • Booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine have been approved and available since late September. 
  • Booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are available for the following groups, at least six months after completion of the primary series: 
    • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings;  
    • people age 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions;
    • people age 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefits and risks; and,
    • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, including health care workers, based on their individual benefits and risks.

Moderna

  • Booster shots of the Moderna vaccine are now available. 
  • The booster is recommended for those 65 and older, as well as those at high risk because of their medical condition or job (the same groups associated with the Pfizer booster).
  • The booster shot will be a half dose of the same vaccine already given. The booster is recommended to be given to that group six months after getting their second Moderna shot.

Johnson & Johnson

  • Booster shots of the J & J single-dose vaccine are now available. 
  • The booster is recommended for anyone 18 and older who received the J & J vaccine as early as two months after the first dose.

“Mix-and-Match” Approach

  • You can get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots that are different from your initial doses.

This announcement followed the release of a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which showed that “mixing and matching” COVID-19 vaccines was both safe and effective.

New Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

While COVID-19 generally causes mild illness in children, some children do develop more severe illness such as pneumonia. After the infection, some will get the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) that requires hospitalization. Others may experience “long COVID” with symptoms that last for months, including extreme fatigue, “brain fog”, breathing problems and body aches. MIS-C and “long COVID” can happen after all types of COVID-19 illness, including after mild illness or no symptoms.

The vaccine can prevent infection and should decrease the risk of all complications from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech is to be given in two, 10-microgram (mcg) doses administered 21 days apart. The dose for adults and youth 12 years and older is 30-mcg, which is three times the dose for younger children.

Generally, yes. However, there may be instances when you and your child’s physician make a different determination. Vaccination, as well as physical distancing, masking, and hand hygiene help prevent COVID-19 infection and allow children to remain involved in their regular activities. Getting your child vaccinated also may help reduce the spread of the virus, including to those at risk of more severe illness.

Generally speaking, research has shown that vaccinated children experience the same side effects as adults, including:

  • temporary pain at the injection site
  • fatigue
  • headaches 
  • and less commonly - fever, chills, nausea and joint pain. 

Side effects typically last one to three days, and may be more likely after the second dose. Like with adults, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should not be given to anyone with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine.

The CDC recommends vaccination even if you already had the COVID-19 infection because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. If your child has not experienced recent COVID-19 related symptoms, discuss with their physician when is the best time to schedule the COVID-19 vaccine.

If your child continues to experience COVID-19 symptoms, even after recovery, consider making an appointment with the Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health - Pediatric COVID-19 Recovery Center, which can be reached by email PedsCOVIDRecovery@hmhn.org, or calling 551-996-2911.

Though long-term side effects are unknown at this time, they are unlikely to occur. Hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given so far and there has not been any indication of any long-term side effects. 

The vaccination information we have for children 5 to 11 years old is the same as the information that allowed for authorization for youths 12 to 15 years old. You should talk to your pediatrician if you have questions and concerns. 

Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination is authorized for children between 5 and 18 years old.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

  • If you are 12-17 years old and have an appointment, you must have your parent or legal guardian with you.
  • Don’t forget to eat and drink prior to your vaccine. There’s no need to fast.
  • We send email confirmations when appointments are made.
  • Second doses are scheduled at the time of your first visit. Remember to bring your vaccine card so we can update it.
  • You don’t need to arrive early. Just arrive a few minutes early.
  • You must wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines.
  • You will be registered, then receive your vaccine and then observed for 15 minutes for any side effects.
  • People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

  • Identification like a driver’s license, passport, student ID or state ID or utility bill or lease agreement to demonstrate you live, work or study in New Jersey.
  • If you are receiving a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna, please bring your vaccination card.
  • If you have insurance, bring your insurance card. You will not be charged for the vaccine. It is free. Your insurance may be billed to defray the costs of paying staff to administer the vaccine, but you will not have an out-of-pocket expense.
  • For those covered by a Medicare Advantage plan, please bring your Medicare Coverage ID Card since COVID -19 vaccines are covered by traditional Medicare. If you do not have a traditional Medicare Card, please be able to provide your Social Security Number when you come in for your vaccine.

With billions of doses administered across the globe, there is a growing body of real-world evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. Importantly, they are very effective against preventing someone from getting seriously ill, requiring hospitalization or dying from COVID-19. Studies completed to date include:

  • mRNA vaccines are 94% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 among health care personnel - Learn more
  • Vaccination reduced the risk for COVID-19 hospitalization among adults 65+ by 94% - Learn more
  • mRNA vaccines are highly effective in real-world conditions; those fully vaccinated 90% less likely to get infected - Learn more
  • There are no increased risks of severe side effects or adverse pregnancy outcomes from the mrRNA vaccines - Learn more
  • Among those fully vaccinated in New Jersey, COVID-19 vaccines are 99.92% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, 99.998% effective against hospitalization and 99.9993% effective against COVID-19 related deaths - Learn more
  • A study by HMH CDI found just 138 COVID-19 positive cases among 26,000 vaccinated health care workers. None became seriously ill - Learn more
  • Nationally, mRNA vaccines reduce the risk of COVID infection by 91% for the fully vaccinated - Learn more

  Pfizer-BioNTech Moderna J&J Janssen
Age group 5 years and older 18 years and older 18 years and older
Number of required shots 2 2 1
Time interval between the first and second shot 19-22 days 26-30 days Second shot not needed
Effectiveness in U.S. clinical trials 95% 94.1% 72%
Common side effects injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain. injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain. injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea and fever.
Underlying medical conditions mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditions mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditions viral vector COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditions

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two shots in the vaccine series. The second shot –is given 19-22 days - after the first one.

Moderna’s vaccine also requires two shots in the vaccine series. The second shot is given – 26-30 days – after the first one. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you will be asked to schedule your appointment for your second shot at your first appointment.

J&J Janssen’s vaccine only requires one dose.

In addition, based on recommendations from the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health:
  • Pfizer - booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are available for the following groups, at least six months after completion of the primary series: 
      • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings;  
      • people age 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions;
      • people age 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefits and risks; and,
      • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, including health care workers, based on their individual benefits and risks
    • Moderna - booster doses of the Moderna vaccine are now available for those 65 and older, as well as those at high risk because of their medical condition or job (the same groups associated with the Pfizer booster noted above). Please note, the booster shot will be a half dose of the same vaccine already given. The booster is recommended to be given six months after getting the second Moderna shot.
  • Johnson & Johnson - booster shots of the J & J single-dose vaccine are now available as early as two months after the first dose of J&J for anyone 18 and older.
Note, based on the recommendations of the FDA, CDC and NJDOH, you can get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots that are different from your initial doses.

Delay in completing the vaccine series means that you will likely remain vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. You will not get the boost in immunity until you receive the second shot. However, you should reschedule your second dose at the earliest opportunity (but no doses need to be repeated).

Hackensack Meridian Health administers all three vaccine types (Pfizer, Moderna and J&J Janssen) depending on availability of supply. All three vaccines are very effective against preventing symptomatic or severe COVID infections.

Yes. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change those recommendations.

If you are not feeling well, it is recommended that you wait until you are feeling better to get the vaccine. If you have scheduled an appointment to receive the vaccine and are not feeling well on the day of vaccination, it is best to reschedule the vaccine.

It is recommended you wait two weeks from the time of your flu shot to receive the vaccine.

There is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. These are common reactions seen with other vaccines. There may be other reactions that are not currently known. If you experience common side effects from the vaccine it is still necessary to receive the second dose for the vaccine to be effective.

We are happy to report that with more than 25,000 people vaccinated as of Jan. 15, there has been no reports of serious side effects.

If you experience symptoms where you got the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
  • Use or exercise your arm.

You may also experience other common symptoms related to the vaccine. This includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Chills

If you have only these symptoms and NO FEVER, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a non- steroidal (like ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil). Your symptoms will typically improve in 24-48 hours. If they do not improve or you have any questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.

The CDC and FDA have a robust safety monitoring system in place as public vaccination begins. Through v-safe, use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID- 19 vaccine. You will also get reminders for your second dose. Learn more here: www.cdc.gov/vsafe.

You are also encouraged to report possible side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

If you experience common side effects from the vaccine, it still is necessary to receive the second dose for the vaccine to be effective.

You should contact your primary care physician.

If you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past, or if you are currently infected with COVID-19, you should wait to get vaccinated until after your illness has resolved and after you meet criteria to discontinue isolation. There is no need to wait 90 days. Vaccination will be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. Data from clinical trials suggest vaccination is safe and likely effective in those with a history of COVID-19 infection.

If you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past, or if you are currently infected with COVID-19, you should wait to get vaccinated until after your illness has resolved and after you meet criteria to discontinue isolation. There is no need to wait 90 days. Vaccination will be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. Data from clinical trials suggest vaccination is safe and likely effective in those with a history of COVID-19 infection.

Vaccination should be deferred until the quarantine period has ended to avoid exposing health care personnel or others during the vaccination visit.

There is currently no data on safety or efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in those who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid interference of the treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.

Vaccines may be administered to those with underlying medical conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination. Clinical trials demonstrate similar safety and efficacy profiles in those with underlying medical conditions, including those that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, compared to those without comorbidities.

At the end of July, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) - the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care - announced in a statementthey strongly recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19 based on evidence demonstrating the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the last several months, as well as the current low vaccination rates and concerning increase in severe cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) subsequently released new datalast week on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines throughout pregnancy, strengthening its recommendation of vaccination for all people who are pregnant, as well as those breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or who might become pregnant in the future.  To learn more, check out these resources from leading experts in obstetric care:

No. Claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and there is no evidence that any vaccines impact menstrual cycles or future fertility in women or men. In alignment with leading specialists, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, vaccination is recommended for all eligible people who may be considering future pregnancy - as well as women actively trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatment. 

You should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, Moderna or J&J Janssen vaccine if you:
  • had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine;
  • had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine

As of November 2021:


Moderna

Approved for those 18 years+

FDA requested additional information for 12-17 year olds

Preparing submission to FDA for children 6 years and older


J&J Janssen

Approved for those 18 years+

Four pediatric trials currently underway


Pfizer-BioNTech

Approved for those 5 years+

Trial underway for ages 6 months - 5 years


Boosters

Approved for all adults - 18 years+

Uncertain for children younger than 18 years at this time

• mRNA: Many vaccines work by putting inactivated or weakened germs into our bodies that trigger an immune response and build natural antibodies against the virus. mRNA vaccines are different. mRNA technology teaches our cells how to make a protein that prevents infection.
• Viral vector: Viral vector vaccines use inactivated or weakened virus to trigger an immune response and build natural antibodies against the virus. Note: The J&J vaccine does not contain any live COVID virus.

No. The available vaccines do not contain live COVID virus.

The most important step is to get vaccinated by any of the three available vaccines. Vaccines are distributed by the state and federal government and still are in limited supply. Vaccination sites cannot request a particular vaccine. Patients will be given the vaccine available at the site.

  • Don't forget to eat and drink prior to your vaccine. There's no need to fast.
  • Per the CDC, it is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine – such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen – before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects.
  • Per the CDC, it is also not recommended to take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions.
  • If you have any questions about medications, please speak with your healthcare provider.

The CDC and FDA made the recommendation to resume use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine following a thorough review of available data that shows the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh the risk of the potential rare blood clotting disorder that led to the pause.

For two weeks after receiving the vaccine, you should be on the lookout for the following possible symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • Chest pain,
  • Leg swelling,
  • Persistent abdominal pain,
  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision,
  • Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

If you develop one or more of these symptoms after receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, seek

medical care immediately.

  • Why was there a temporary pause in the administration of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and continue to undergo what the CDC describes as the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The early detection and reporting of the rare adverse events involving blood clots with low platelets and the subsequent decision to temporarily pause administration of the J&J vaccine serve to illustrate that the safety monitoring process is working.

Per the CDC, as of April 23, 2021, more than 8 million doses of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine had been given in the United States; experts reviewing safety reports for this vaccine found 15 reports of women who got this vaccine and later developed the serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets.

Early clinical trials largely focused on adult participants. Now, researchers are studying the vaccine in younger children. Pfizer-BioNTech recently completed a vaccination trial on patients aged 12-15 and found the younger group’s immune response was “as good as” the immune response of older participants. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently studying the vaccine in children as young as six months old.