Registration for COVID-19 Vaccination
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.
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 12 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.
Medical experts from Penn State Health provide insight into vaccine development, safety, mRNA vaccines and the COVID vaccine.
Vaccines and safety
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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 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 12 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 12 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?
Vaccine manufacturers are not permitted to apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) until they can provide the required amount of safety data. The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines all met the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety data milestones.
On Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine - now known as Comirnaty COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA - for persons ages 16 and older based upon updated data from the clinical trial that included a longer duration of follow-up in a larger clinical trial population. The vaccine remains available to children ages 12 to 15 through an EUA granted by the FDA on May 10, 2021. It also received EUA on Aug. 12, 2021, for a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
Individuals may have some side effects from their vaccination, whether from the FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Comirnaty, or from the emergency use authorized Moderna or Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. Side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are sore arm, fatigue, headache, chills and fever. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
The FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine and the emergency use authorized Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccines are still being studied in clinical trials and thus rare or long-term side effects that have not been previously reported may occur.
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.
The vaccine was developed so quickly. Was it too rushed?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines made it through their late-stage clinical trials in record time - less than one year. But unlike other diseases, COVID had scientists from across the globe focused and collaborating toward an effective vaccine. With advances in genomic sequencing, researchers determined the viral sequence of SARS-CoV-2 within two weeks of the first reported illnesses in Wuhan, China.
Countries including the United States provided resources to public and private laboratories to develop vaccines across various platforms, accelerating vaccine development while maintaining standards for safety and efficacy.
Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID vaccines are the first messenger RNA - or mRNA - vaccine to be produced broadly. The technology, however, has been in development for years, as has research into other coronavirus vaccines.
The Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which received emergency use authorization on Feb. 27, 2021, for persons ages 18 and older, is an adenoviral DNA vaccine, administered by a single injection that uses a viral vector delivery system. Learn more about viral vector vaccines.
None of the vaccines can give someone COVID-19.
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 (above age 16) and demographics, with a very low rate of side effects even 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 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 preliminary findings 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.
Does the COVID vaccine represent any risk to fertility for women of child-bearing age?
The vaccine is not expected to have an effect on fertility based on how messenger RNA - or mRNA - vaccines work. The COVID vaccine is recommended for women of childbearing age who meet the criteria for vaccination. 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. The FDA and CDC have not provided specific information on this issue for the Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson yet.
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?
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty, first authorized for emergency use on Dec. 11, 2020, for individuals 16 years of age and older, received approval from the FDA on Aug. 23, 2021, following the review of updated data from the clinical trial which supported the emergency use authorization and included a longer duration of follow-up in a larger clinical trial population. The safety of Comirnaty was evaluated in approximately 22,000 people 16 years of age and older who received the vaccine and 22,000 people who received a placebo. Based on results from the clinical trial, the vaccine was 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease.
The Pfizer vaccine is available through emergency use authorization for individuals ages 12 and older. The FDA also recommends a third dose for certain immunocompromised individuals.
In its ongoing clinical trial, the Moderna vaccine has been shown to prevent COVID-19 following two doses given one month apart. It may also prevent hospitalizations and death from COVID-19, but more data are needed. The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown. On Dec. 18, 2020, after an evidence-based review of all available data, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued an interim recommendation for use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in persons ages 18 years old and older for the prevention of COVID-19.
The FDA, which granted Johnson & Johnson’s Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization on Feb. 27, 2021, for persons ages 18 and older, reported that the single-dose vaccine 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.
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?
Individuals should still be vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of whether they have been infected in the past.
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?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccinations with the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine recognize the current variants.
Against mutant strains of COVID, the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine, Comirnaty, and the COVID vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. are effective at limiting the severity of illness in those who do become ill. Therefore, vaccination remains important to limit further spread of the mutant strains and to protect against severe illness.
While experts learn more about the impact of the variants, it is essential that even individuals who have been fully vaccinated continue using tools available to help stop this pandemic, such as:
- Washing hands often
- Covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
- Avoiding crowds and practicing social distancing (stay at least six feet apart from others)
- Staying home when you are sick