Registration for COVID-19 Vaccination

Online Registration

Please make sure that you are using the Chrome browser to access the vaccination registration and scheduling platform.

Note: Your user name will be your email address. If you and someone else share the same email address, that individual will need to use a different email address or call the scheduling number.

We invite you to schedule for your COVID-19 vaccination.

If you prefer, you can call 844-774-8883.

COVID Vaccines

As the region’s trusted health care provider, Penn State Health is working in accordance with state and federal agency guidelines to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone ages 5 and older who wishes to receive it.

Penn State Health OnDemand Vaccine Advisor

The Penn State Health OnDemand Vaccine Advisor is a new, virtual service staffed by dedicated Penn State Health nurses to address questions about the COVID-19 vaccines currently on the market.

  • Free service to the community
  • Available Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Penn State Health nurses can answer questions about:
    • The safety and efficacy of the various vaccines
    • What you can expect after you receive a vaccine, including possible side effects

The Penn State Health OnDemand Vaccine Advisor complements the Penn State Health OnDemand virtual services, including COVID screenings and Urgent Care.

Expert insights

Medical experts from Penn State Health provide insight into vaccine development, safety, mRNA vaccines and the COVID vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

This FAQ is intended to supplement guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

    FAQS about third doses and booster shots

    What is the difference between a third dose and a booster shot?

    A third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is part of the primary vaccine series that some immunocompromised patients need to have a better response to the vaccination. Patients can receive a third dose 28 days after their second. This is different from a booster shot. Booster shots provide a boost when the initially sufficient immune response to the vaccine wanes over time. 

    On Aug. 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its emergency use authorizations (EUA) for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to authorize third doses for certain immunocompromised individuals. These doses can be administered as soon as 28 days after the second dose.

    On Nov. 19, the FDA amended its EUA for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow a single booster dose to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in anyone ages 18 or older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the FDA’s EAU and on Nov. 29 strengthened its guidance, stating that all adults ages 18 and older should receive a booster shot.

    Previously, the FDA had amended the EUA for Johnson & Johnson’s Jansen COVID-19 vaccine to allow a single booster dose to be administered at least two months after the first dose of the Jansen COVID-19 vaccine to anyone over the age of 18.

    The FDA has also authorized the use of a heterologous - “mix and match” - booster dose for the three currently available COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. As an example, this means that eligible persons who initially received Johnson & Johnson’s Jansen COVID-19 vaccine may, after two months, receive a booster dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Jansen COVID-19 vaccine.

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    Who is eligible for a third dose?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive third doses to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19. Not only are these individuals especially vulnerable to the illness, the two-dose series of the mRNA vaccines may not provide them with the same level of protection as it does for those who are not immunocompromised. Patients can receive a third dose 28 days after their second.

    How can I get a third dose?

    Penn State Health has five dedicated COVID-19 vaccination locations throughout central Pennsylvania. You may schedule your third dose for one of these site by visiting our vaccine scheduling platform. If you prefer, you can call 844-774-8883.

    You will be asked screening questions to make sure that you are eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Who is eligible for a booster shot?

    The FDA has granted emergency use authorizations to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for booster shots to be administered at least six months after the second dose for anyone age 18 years and older. On Nov. 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all eligible adults ages 18 and older to get a booster shot.

    Previously the FDA granted emergency use authorization for booster shots of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to be administered at least two months after vaccination to anyone over the age of 18.

    How can I get a booster shot?

    Penn State Health has five dedicated COVID-19 vaccination locations throughout central Pennsylvania. If eligible, you may schedule your booster shot for one of these site by visiting our vaccine scheduling platform. If you prefer, you can call 844-774-8883.

    Penn State Health will administer booster shots in accordance with the authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The FDA has granted emergency use authorizations to all three COVID-19 vaccines for use as booster shots. Eligible people who received either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine initially may get a booster shot with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months after they received their second dose. Those who initially were vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Jansen COVID-19 vaccine may receive a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least two months after their initial vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

    Note: The FDA has authorized the use of a heterologous — “mix and match” — booster dose for the three currently available COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.

    When you visit the Penn State Health vaccine scheduling platform or call our scheduling line at 844-774-8883, you will be asked screening questions to make sure that you are eligible for a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
     

    FAQs about your vaccination appointment

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    What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

    Please bring you photo ID (driver’s license or other form of photo ID) and insurance card along with you to your appointment. If you have Medicare, please bring your Medicare identification card. If you have Medicare Advantage, you should bring both your health insurance identification card and your Medicare identification card. You should also wear your face mask properly, covering your nose and mouth, throughout the entire vaccination process.

    What will check-in be like?

    When you arrive at the check-in area, you will provide your name and appointment confirmation number if applicable, and show your photo ID and insurance cards. There will be no cost to you to receive the vaccination.

    Uou will learn which vaccine you will receive and will be given a card that includes the name of the vaccine (i.e., Moderna), the batch number and that day’s date. When you return for your second dose, you will need to present the card so information about the second dose can be added. Keep the card in a safe location as it is proof that you have received your vaccination dose(s).

    Can my 5 to 17-year-old child schedule an appointment with Penn State Health?

    Yes. Penn State Health has allocated doses of the Pfizer vaccine - the only vaccine to receive emergency use authorization for individuals ages 5 to 17 - to select Penn State Health Medical Group practice locations in Berks, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster counties for eligible individuals who fall within this age group. These individuals or their parents can register for and schedule their vaccinations at vaccine-scheduler.pennstatehealth.org

    A parent or legal guardian must accompany their minor child to the vaccination appointment and stay with the child throughout the vaccination process.

    What side effects could I experience?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the most commonly reported side effects from the Pfizer vaccine are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. These side effects typically last several days. The CDC states that the most commonly reported side effects from the Moderna vaccine, which also typically lasted several days, are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever. The most commonly reported side effects from the Johnson & Johnson single-dose Jansen COVID-19 vaccine are pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Most of these side effects occur within two days of receiving the vaccination, are mild to moderate in severity and last one to two days. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration encourage the public to report any side effects (called adverse events) they might experience to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The CDC has also implemented a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check on people’s health after they get a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you will also get a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll. 

    Lost your vaccination card?

    If you have lost your Penn State Health-issued COVID-19 vaccination card and need proof of your vaccination status, call Penn State Health’s Health Information Management at 717-531-3798. Please note: this only applies to individuals who were vaccinated through Penn State Health.

    FAQs on vaccine safety

    Are the vaccines safe?

    It’s important to know that all of the steps necessary to bring a vaccine to the public have been followed for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history - no regulatory steps were skipped. These vaccines were able to be developed so quickly because scientists had a head start due to working on vaccines against two closely related coronaviruses: SARS and MERS. Scientists had also studied how to design platforms to make a new vaccine rapidly available. For example, mRNA vaccines have been studied over several decades against other viral infections, including Zika and influenza (flu). This type of vaccine introduces a small piece of mRNA into a person’s cells which instructs the cell to make a viral protein. Their body then makes an immune response to this protein and this protects them from serious illness. The mRNA is not incorporated into a person’s DNA and is inactivated in a couple of days. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines each utilize this technology. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses another type of platform, a viral vector, to generate a similar immune response.

    The vaccines went through rigorous testing prior to receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The EUA allowed the vaccines to be disseminated rapidly to stem the pandemic while the FDA completed additional steps to fully approve the vaccines. While under EUA, rigorous safety monitoring was conducted and over 166 million people in the U.S. have now been fully vaccinated according to the CDC. Significant side effects have been exceedingly rare. In pregnant women receiving the vaccine, there is no evidence for increased risk of miscarriage or harm to the fetus. Similarly, fertility is not affected by COVID-19 vaccination. On August 23, 2021, the Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine was FDA approved. The Moderna vaccine is also being evaluated for full FDA approval.

    You can find more detailed information on the vaccines:

    What happens if I have a side effect from the vaccine?

    Vaccines cause an immune response in the body which can sometimes cause flu-like symptoms such as body aches or even fever, chills and a headache. An immune response may be more likely to occur with the second dose of the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. Vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine require only one dose.

    Learn about the difference between a vaccine side effect and an adverse event.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration encourage the public to report possible side effects (called adverse events) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) external icon. The CDC also has a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you will receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe.  The CDC offers guidance related to side effects here. 

    What is an emergency use authorization (EUA)?

    An Emergency Use Authorization, or EUA, allows the use of unapproved medical products in response to a declared public health emergency where there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives. An EUA for a COVID-19 vaccine allows vaccine distribution in the U.S. without a full FDA approval.

    FAQs about pregnancy and other preexisting conditions

    I have a preexisting health condition. Is it safe for me to have the vaccine?

    Studies to date indicate the COVID vaccines have high rates of effectiveness and safety among all age groups (ages 12 and older) and demographics, with a very low rate of serious side effects including in people with a variety of pre-existing health conditions. Discuss your individual health history and concerns with your primary care provider to help you make an informed decision.

    Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant? If so, does it matter what trimester I’m in?

    Pregnancy is a known risk factor for severe COVID-19. At a press briefing on April 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that it was recommending pregnant women, regardless of the trimester they are in, be vaccinated against COVID-19 with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This recommendation followed data published April 21 in the New England Journal of Medicine detailing that a review of more than 35,000 cases of pregnant women “did not show obvious safety signals among pregnant persons who received mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.” Previously, pregnant or nursing women were not excluded from receiving the vaccine, as the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that a pregnant or breastfeeding woman may choose to be vaccinated if they feel that their risk from COVID and the potential benefit of the vaccine outweigh the unknown risks during pregnancy or nursing. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also provides guidance on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and lactating individuals

    Does the COVID-19 vaccine represent any risk to fertility for women of child-bearing age?

    There is no data to suggest that the vaccine has an effect on fertility. The COVID vaccine is recommended for women of childbearing age. If a woman becomes pregnant after the first dose, the second dose is recommended to be given per the usual recommendations. According to the CDC, women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.  While studies are ongoing, there is no data that the COVID-19 vaccines may cause infertility and no credible scientific theories for how the COVID-19 vaccine may cause female infertility.

    Can breastfeeding women receive the vaccine?

    Per the CDC, there are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production and excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Women who are breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also provides guidance on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and lactating individuals.

    FAQs about effectiveness and continued safety

    Will the vaccines work to stop COVID-19?

    When it announced its approval of the Pfizer vaccine Aug. 23, the FDA stated that the vaccine is 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics. COVID-19 vaccines are aimed at preventing clinical disease. We do not know whether they prevent transmission of the virus.

    Moderna reported a 94.5% effective rate for its vaccine in its initial late-stage data. The FDA reported that the Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson was approximately 67% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 occurring at least 14 days after vaccination and 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 occurring at least 28 days after vaccination. The effectiveness of the single-shot Janssen vaccine from Johnson & Johnson appears to be lower than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was tested in regions where some of the variants had become prominent, whereas the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been tested prior to that time.

    For specific data, guidance, side effects and more, please see the FDA’s fact sheets on the three COVID-19 vaccines:

    Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Vaccinated people are five times less likely to be infected than unvaccinated people. Most importantly, vaccination is highly effective in preventing hospitalization or death from COVID-19, with vaccinated people 10 times less likely to be hospitalized or die. This is because when you are vaccinated, your body mounts an immune response against the virus that causes COVID-19 that helps protect you from serious disease even if you do become infected. The vaccine is your best defense to prevent death or serious illness.

    For specific data, guidance, side effects and more, please see the FDA’s fact sheets on the three COVID-19 vaccines:

    If I get the vaccine, can I still be infected? How long does the vaccine protect me?

    Experts have yet to understand whether individuals can still be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and spread it to others even though the vaccine protects them from developing symptoms themselves. In addition, we do not know how long vaccine protection will last and whether individuals will be susceptible to COVID-19 in the future as immunity decreases.

    If I already had COVID-19, do I need the vaccine? Don't I have immunity?

    Natural immunity from previous infection may prevent recurrent infection, yet is important to realize that a person who has had COVID-19 can get infected again. Immunity after infection, based on measurements of neutralizing antibody response, does not seem to occur as reliably as it does following vaccination.

    Studies in Denmark found a range of reinfection from approximately 20-50% of people within six months, depending on their age. The duration of immunity is likely to wane over time and can be enhanced by vaccination. Recently a study found that people in Kentucky who had COVID-19 and were vaccinated had two-fold better protection against re-infection that those who were previously infected but were not vaccinated. It is recommended that those who have COVID-19 get the vaccine to ensure that they have a more reliable, high level of protective immunity to prevent serious illness

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    FAQs about virus mutations

    Should I be concerned about reported mutant strains of COVID in Pennsylvania and neighboring states?

    Mutations in viruses occur constantly, eventually causing new variants of a virus. Influenza is an example of a virus that mutates easily, which is why flu vaccines are often updated from one season to the next.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3) program in November 2020 to track how the COVID virus may be mutating. Since then, new variant strains have been confirmed across the globe - and in Pennsylvania.

    Scientists are studying how the variant strains may differ from the original COVID-19 virus in regard to transmission, testing, severity of infection, treatment and immune protection from the vaccines currently available or from antibodies from a previous COVID infection. To date, these new variant strains appear to spread more easily and quickly - meaning that they can make more people sick.

    The CDC has classified the B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B1.617.2 (Delta), and P.1 (Gamma) variants circulating in the United States as variants of concern.

    Will the currently available vaccines work with the variant strains of the virus?

    The virus that causes COVID-19 can mutate and change over time, picking up advantages over prior virus strains. This is what led to the emergence of the Delta variant, which is spread more easily from person-to-person, may cause more severe illness, and may cause more vaccine breakthrough infections than prior strains. New variants will continue to arise throughout the world, and some may be more dangerous than the Delta variant. By vaccinating as many people as possible, we can reduce the number of people who get infected and there will be less virus replication and fewer mutants. The Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been proven to be very effective in reducing the chance of severe illness and hospitalization as a result of getting COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant.