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 be unable to sign up through the scheduling platform with it. They will need to use a different email address or call the scheduling number.
*We have scheduled all vaccination appointments possible based on our current vaccine supply. We are working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to procure adequate doses so that we can resume scheduling appointments for anyone in Phase 1A who wants to be vaccinated. Thank you for your patience.
We invite you to register for your COVID-19 vaccination.
If you prefer, you can call 844-774-8883. Due to high call volumes, you may experience longer than normal wait times or a busy signal.
You will be asked some questions about your age and medical history. If you meet the criteria for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s current phase of vaccine distribution, and appointments are available, you will be able to schedule your vaccination.
Thank you for your patience as we do our part to get the vaccine out to our patients and the public as quickly as possible.
If you register through our Penn State Health Vaccination Registration and Scheduling site but are unable to schedule an appointment, we will use the contact email you provide to notify you when new appointments are available.
As the region’s trusted health care provider, Penn State Health is working in accordance with state and federal agency recommendations to distribute the COVID vaccine. Planning is underway for the health system to begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients and the public. We will update this page with more information when broad public vaccine distribution is available, based on vaccine supply.
Below are resources that may be helpful in understanding the vaccine, phases for distribution and more.
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 on vaccine availability
How are vaccinations being prioritized?
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has established four phases for distribution and identified populations of focus, which can be found here. On Jan. 19, the DOH significantly expanded the population of at-risk patients it is including in its first group prioritized to receive the vaccine:
When will Penn State Health offer vaccinations to the public?
On Jan. 19, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the addition of COVID-19 vaccination eligibility for Pennsylvanians age 65-plus and those ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions to its Phase 1A vaccination plan. See above, “How are vaccinations being prioritized?” to see who is included in Phase 1A. However, Penn State Health’s vaccine supply has been significantly less than the number of patients we had already identified for vaccination under the expanded eligibility.
Since early January, upon guidance and allocation of supplies from the DOH, we have been vaccinating health care and emergency medical services providers not affiliated with our health system - individuals included in the DOH’s Phase 1A to receive the vaccine. As of Feb. 17, more than 1,800 of these community providers had been vaccinated through Penn State Health.
Penn State Health also reached out directly to many of our patients who are in the highest risk categories to invite them to come in for a vaccination. As of Feb. 17, we had vaccinated more than 8,000 of our most at-risk patients within Phase 1A.
On Feb. 12, the DOH issued a new mandate that all vaccine providers - including Penn State Health - must have both online and phone-based registration systems for direct appointment scheduling, and they must make vaccine allocations available to all members of the public in Phase 1A, not only patients. Penn State Health has adapted its plans to vaccinate as many people as possible, and as conveniently as possible, while still adhering to the state’s new mandates.
Penn State Health has planned several dedicated vaccine sites throughout central Pennsylvania, including in Berks, Centre, Cumberland and Dauphin counties. It anticipates launching these on Monday, Feb. 22. Additionally, it is collaborating with other health systems to create a community vaccination site in Lancaster County, which will go live in March.
Penn State Health has been scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for its patients and members of the public who fall within the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s designated Phase 1A group. Any Pennsylvania resident in Phase 1A who wants to be vaccinated may use our online and phone-based registration systems for direct appointment scheduling.
To register and schedule through our online platform, visit vaccine-scheduler.pennstatehealth.org. If you prefer, you can call 844-774-8883 to schedule your appointment. Due to high call volumes, you may experience a significant wait before you reach a scheduler. If the system becomes overwhelmed, you will get a busy signal.
Thank you for your patience as we do our part to get the vaccine out to our patients and the public as quickly as possible.
To learn more about state and federal vaccine distribution plan recommendations, visit:
Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
Currently, there is a limited supply of vaccine available. This means that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available.
What happens if I can’t get my second dose three or four weeks after my first?
The CDC recommends that you get the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine 21 days after the first dose. If you receive Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you get the second dose of that 28 days after the first. However, with both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the CDC says there is a grace period for when the second doses may be given.
The second dose of either vaccine can be administered up to four days early — so 17 days after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 24 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. There’s an even longer grace period for how late the vaccines’ second doses can be administered. The CDC states that if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose of either vaccine may be administered up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose.
What vaccines are available in the United States?
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine obtained emergency use authorization on Dec. 11, 2020, and Moderna received EUA for its COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18, 2020.
What other vaccines may become available?
Johnson & Johnson has developed a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine that was submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization the first week of February 2021. It is an adenoviral DNA vaccine, administered by a single injection, that uses a viral vector delivery system. Learn more about viral vector vaccines. The vaccine has produced promising initial data, and can be stored more easily than the RNA COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna.
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En la computadora, abre Chrome. A continuación, vuelva a esta página, pennstatehealth.org/coronavirus/vaccine (o cualquier página web). En la parte superior, haga clic en “Traducir.” Chrome traducirá la página web una vez. También puede hacer clic con el botón derecho en cualquier parte de la página, hacer clic en "traducir" y seleccionar español. Si estas opciones no están disponibles para ti, sigue estas instrucciones para cambiar el idioma de tu navegador Chrome:
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- En la computadora, abre Chrome.
- En la parte superior derecha, haga clic en Más configuración .
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- Reinicie Chrome para aplicar los cambios.
FAQs about your vaccination appointment
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. If you registered for and scheduled your vaccination through Penn State Health for one of our dedicated vaccination sites, you were given an appointment confirmation number. You will be asked to provide that when you check in.
You should also wear your face mask properly, covering your nose and mouth, throughout the entire vaccination process.
What will check-in be like?
Depending upon where you are receiving your vaccination, you may have to wait in line, adhering to social distancing measures while you do so. 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.
At check-in, you 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).
Why can’t my 16/17 year old child schedule an appointment at your vaccination sites?
The Pfizer vaccine - the only vaccine recommended for individuals ages 16 and 17 - has storage requirements that can’t be met by all our vaccination sites. Due to this vaccine storage limitation, we are not able to schedule appointments for 16- and 17-year-olds who meet eligibility guidelines outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Penn State Health is contacting those patients directly to receive the Pfizer vaccine at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
How long will the appointment take?
Depending upon where and when you receive your vaccination, you may encounter traffic delays near the vaccination site and/or have to wait in line at check-in. When it is your turn, the check-in process will take approximately five to 10 minutes. The vaccination will take just a few minutes, but you will be asked to wait for 15 minutes after you are vaccinated to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.
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 were 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, were 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. Not everyone who receives the vaccine experiences these side effects.
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.
FAQs on vaccine costs
Is there a cost for the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine is free. Vaccine administration charges may be billed to insurance, but there will be no out-of-pocket costs to patients, regardless of coverage.
Will I need to provide payment to reserve my vaccination spot?
No. Be aware of a scam using the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine to get personal and financial information from people. No one calling or emailing patients legitimately to alert them of the availability of the vaccine will request credit card or banking information or personal details. Patients instead will be notified of their eligibility and then directed to call a number to schedule, or directed to a self-scheduling portal. They will be asked to present personal ID and insurance information at the time of their vaccination appointment.
Do not give out your personal information to unknown sources. Be suspicious of these potential fraudulent activities associated with the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Emails that ask you to download files or redirect to a login page asking for your credentials to access information.
- Websites that ask you to download files or ask for your credentials.
- Phone calls, emails, texts or websites that ask you to pay out of pocket to get the vaccine.
- Phone calls, emails, texts or websites that ask you to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access.
- Marketers offering to sell or ship you doses of the vaccine for payment.
Visit oig.hhs.gov/coronavirus/ to stay apprised of COVID-19 vaccine-related scams and what to do if you are a victim of one.
FAQs on vaccine safety
Are the vaccines safe?
Vaccine manufacturers are not permitted to apply for emergency use authorization until they can provide the required amount of safety data. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna met the FDA safety data milestones. However, you may have some side effects from vaccination, which 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 Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines are still being studied in clinical trials and thus rare or long term sided effects that have not been previously reported may occur.
You can find more detailed information on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna 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. Pfizer identified fatigue and headache as the most common. 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 is also implementing 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. In addition, the FDA’s fact sheet on the EUA of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has information related to side effects and vaccine adverse event reporting information.
The vaccine was developed so quickly. Was it too rushed?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines made it through their Phase 3 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.
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. There is no available safety and efficacy data for either the Pfizer BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in women who are pregnant or nursing as these individuals were not included in the most recently reviewed trials. However, pregnant or nursing women are not excluded from receiving the vaccine. Thus 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. This a decision individuals should make with the help of their provider.
There are no specific recommendations regarding timing of the vaccination in pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also provides guidance on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and lactating individuals.
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.
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 and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as health care personnel, may choose to be vaccinated.
FAQs about effectiveness and continued safety
Will the vaccines work to stop COVID-19?
According to the FDA, Pfizer reports a 95% efficacy rate against COVID-19 across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics. The company observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age at 94%. 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 Phase 3 data.
Please see the FDA’s fact sheet on the EUA of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and its fact sheet on the EUA of the Moderna vaccine for specific data, guidance, side effects and more.
Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
In an ongoing clinical trial, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been shown to prevent COVID-19 following two doses given three weeks 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.12, after an evidence-based review of all available data, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued an interim recommendation for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons ages 16 years old and older for the prevention of COVID-19.
Likewise, in its ongoing clinical trial, the Moderna vaccine has been sown 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, 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 16 years old and older for the prevention of COVID-19.
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.
After I get the vaccine, do I still have to follow safety protocols at work and in public?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, such as:
- Covering your mouth and nose with a mask
- Washing hands often
- Staying at least 6 feet away from others
- Disinfecting surfaces
- Monitoring your own health
- Staying home when you are sick
FAQs about virus mutations
News media are reporting a new, mutant strain of COVID in the United Kingdom. What does this mean?
A new variant strain of COVID - B.1.1.7 - was discovered in the UK in September 2020 and by November was accounting for up to 60% of recent infections in London. The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed on Jan. 7, that the same variant strain had been detected in an individual in Dauphin County who had travelled internationally.
Scientists are studying how the new variant strains may differ from COVID 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, the new variant strain appears to be more infectious - meaning that it can make more people sick. But according to the CDC, there is nothing yet to indicate that these variant strains cause more severe illness or an increased risk of death.
The CDC launched the National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3) program in November 2020 to track how the COVID virus may be mutating.
If the virus is mutating, won’t this affect the efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines granted emergency use authorization by the FDA are messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines. The mRNA vaccine introduces genetic material that causes cells to create COVID’s spike protein - specifically, the protein from the original strain of the virus, not the mutant strain that’s been found in the UK and in Dauphin County.
The vaccines produce antibodies that target multiple parts of the spike protein. Researchers anticipate it would take multiple mutations in the spike protein to evade immunity resulting from the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. If the virus continues mutation so that reformulated vaccines are necessary, the mRNA vaccines can be tweaked and reproduced very quickly.
The efficacy of the two vaccines that have received EUA in the United States are remarkably high, at 95% for Pfizer’s and 94% for Moderna’s. Against a mutant strain of COVID, like B.1.1.7, they may be less effective at preventing illness but still effective at limiting the severity of illness in those who do become ill - similar to how the annual influenza vaccines, with an average of 50% to 60% efficacy, reduce severe illness and death.