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Examining vaccine prior to dosage.

Who we're vaccinating now*:

  • Geisinger employees and Phase 1A healthcare personnel
  • People age 65+
  • People age 18–64 with certain high-risk medical conditions
*Due to limited supplies, first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments are currently unavailable. Check this page often for updates — we will open additional appointment slots as supplies and logistics allow.

Who's coming up soon:

  • PA Department of Health Phase 1B, which includes:
  • Certain essential workers

COVID-19 vaccine: Updates and FAQs

Find the latest updates and answers to frequently asked questions to help you understand the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. We'll be updating this page regularly, so check back for updates.

The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is a milestone in our journey through the pandemic — and one that inspires us to persevere for our communities. Have any concerns? We’d like to address them, because the findings to date give us confidence in the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. And we’re here to help.

While the vaccine is certainly good news, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. At no time — before, during or after — receiving a vaccine, should you stop taking precautionary measures like masking, physical distancing and handwashing.

It will take some time to get enough people vaccinated to loosen these preventive recommendations, but we’ll get there by working together.

Note: First-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments are currently unavailable. Check this page regularly for updates, as we’ll be posting new appointments as soon as we can.

Vaccine eligibility:

When can I get a vaccine?

Scheduling for those who qualify as part of the state’s Phase 1A groups


General vaccine information:

What about the cost (and other helpful information)?

Is the vaccine safe and effective?

What do I need to know about getting the vaccine?

Are there any side effects from the vaccine?

When can I get the vaccine?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have outlined who will be able to receive the vaccine in Pennsylvania.

In accordance with these guidelines, Geisinger employees received the vaccine first. Now we are vaccinating our own employees and anyone who qualifies as part of the state’s Phase 1A groups.

Protecting these groups will keep our patients and communities safer. We’ll expand vaccine availability to additional groups as supplies, staffing and DOH guidelines allow.

Exact time frames for patients and the general public to receive the vaccine have not been determined, as they depend on many factors. To learn information as it becomes available, visit the PA DOH vaccination information page or CDC vaccination page.


Who can be vaccinated at Geisinger right now?

Here at Geisinger, vaccination* is open to:

  • Geisinger employees
  • Medical personnel who qualify as part of the state's Phase 1A
  • People age 65 and up
  • People age 18–64** with high-risk medical conditions including:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Down syndrome
    • Heart conditions (e.g., heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy)
    • Weakened immune system (from solid organ/bone/blood marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or other immunity-weakening medications)
    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of ≥30 kg/m2) or severe obesity (BMI ≥40 kg/m2)
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Smoking
    • Type 2 diabetes
       

This may also include people age 18–64** with the following conditions that might put them at a higher risk, like:

  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions, like dementia
  • Overweight (BMI >25 kg/m2)
  • Type 1 diabetes

For a complete list of conditions, visit the PA DOH or the CDC.

We’ll update this list regularly as we finish vaccinating groups and receive more vaccine supplies — so bookmark this page and check back often.

*Note: First-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments are currently unavailable. Check this page regularly for updates, as we’ll be posting new appointments as soon as we can. 

**People age 16 and 17 can receive the Pfizer vaccine, but we can no longer schedule first doses for them due to limited Pfizer vaccine supply. Anyone age 16 or 17 who has already scheduled their first dose should keep their appointment.

 

Who’ll be eligible for vaccination at Geisinger next?

As supplies and staffing allow, vaccination will next open to:
  • PA DOH Phase 1B
  • Certain essential workers (as designated by the PA DOH)

We’ll update this list regularly as we finish vaccinating groups and receive more vaccine supplies — so bookmark this page and check back often.


Is there a COVID-19 vaccine wait list and can I be added to it?

The PA DOH and CDC have outlined who will be able to receive the vaccine in Pennsylvania. In accordance with these guidelines, Geisinger employees received the vaccine first, and now we’re vaccinating all those who qualify as part of the state’s Phase 1A groups, including people who are 65 or older and people age 18-64* with high-risk medical conditions. Protecting these groups will keep our patients and communities safer.

Once supplies and the above-mentioned DOH guidelines allow, we will provide vaccines to people who qualify as part of the state’s 1B groups, which includes designated essential workers. However, we can’t begin a wait list for patients or the general public until then.

We’re working closely with state and federal officials on when, how and who the vaccine will be distributed to. For more information on this process, you can visit the PA DOH vaccination information page or CDC vaccination page.


When will Geisinger begin to vaccinate members in the community?

We’re prioritizing and scheduling vaccinations according to guidance from PA DOH and as quickly as our supply and logistics allow. At Geisinger, we’ve already given tens of thousands of vaccines. We’ll continue to prioritize vaccinating our employees and community members in line with PA DOH guidelines, eventually expanding to the general public. All of this depends on supplies, staffing and guidelines, and we’ll continue to administer vaccines as quickly as these factors allow.


Scheduling for those who qualify as part of the State’s Phase 1A groups* 

I’m eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. How can I schedule my vaccine?

*First-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments are currently unavailable. Check this page regularly for updates, as we’ll be posting new appointments as soon as we can.

You can self-schedule your vaccination through myGeisinger. 

If you are a qualifying healthcare provider over age 18, you will also need to enter your employer/organization, your work title/position, your EMS certification number (if applicable) and a contact person and phone number for your employer/organization in order to schedule your vaccine.

Here’s how to get started with self-scheduling, depending on which category you fall into:

As we expect high demand for appointment scheduling, if no appointments are available, please check in with the scheduling tool on myGeisinger regularly as more appointments will be published on a weekly basis as supply, logistics and staffing allow. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

If you’re unable to schedule through myGeisinger, call 570-284-3657. However, we’re experiencing high call volumes — scheduling through myGeisinger is the fastest way to secure your appointment.

Where will I go to get my COVID-19 vaccination?

When you self-schedule your vaccination through myGeisinger, you’ll have the option to go to one of several Geisinger COVID-19 community vaccination centers throughout our coverage area.

Make sure you choose one that’s convenient to you, as you must visit the same one for your second dose a few weeks later.

Who’s eligible to receive a vaccine as part of the state’s Phase 1A?

According to the PA DOH, Phase 1A medical providers include:

  • EMS providers
  • Non-Geisinger medical providers and their staff
  • Nurses and nursing assistants
  • Physicians
  • Technicians
  • Therapists
  • Phlebotomists
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
  • Medical students and trainees
  • Dentists and dental hygienists
  • Chiropractors
  • Direct support professionals
  • Clinical personnel in school or university settings
  • Contracted healthcare personnel not directly employed by a healthcare facility
  • People not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease
  • People age 65 and older
  • People age 18–64** with high-risk medical conditions


Who’s eligible to receive a vaccine as part of the state’s Phase 1B?

According to the PA DOH, Phase 1B groups include:

  • People in group living settings (besides long-term care facilities) and people receiving home and community-based services
  • First responders
  • Correctional officers and other workers in group living settings not included in Phase 1A  
  • Food and agricultural workers
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Manufacturing workers  
  • Grocery store workers  
  • Education workers
  • Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship
  • Public transit workers
  • People caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs

What do I need to bring with me to my vaccination appointment? 

When you come to your appointment, be sure to bring identification that verifies you’re eligible as part of the state’s Phase 1A groups (e.g., certificate, license) and a valid government-issued ID (e.g. driver’s license, state ID, passport). 

Arrive no more than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. If you have an appointment, you have a vaccine. There's no need to stand in line, as your dose will be reserved just for you — we won't run out.

What if I don’t feel well on the day of my vaccination appointment? 

If you have COVID symptoms on the day of your appointment, call 570-284-3657 to reschedule.

What if I miss my first vaccination appointment? 

If you miss your vaccine appointment, call 570-284-3657 for assistance.

 

What can I expect during my vaccination appointment? 

Arrive no more than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. If you have an appointment, you have a vaccine. There's no need to stand in line, as your dose will be reserved just for you — we won't run out.

You’ll receive information about the vaccine and its emergency use authorization, potential side effects and prevention protocols after your vaccination. We’ll also give you documentation that you received the vaccine — make sure to keep this while waiting for your second dose. 

Even after you’ve received a vaccine, you must still continue preventive best practices like handwashing, masking and physical distancing.

How do I schedule the second dose? 

We’ll schedule your second dose when you receive your first dose of the vaccine. It’s important that you keep your appointment to get your second dose, so be sure to note the time and date.

Where can I get my second dose? 

You’ll need to receive your second dose at the same location you receive your first dose.


What if I miss my next dose or the appointment for my next dose? 

The vaccine requires two doses of the same vaccine administered 26 to 42 days apart (for Pfizer or Moderna). If you miss the second dose, you’ll need to restart the vaccination process again.


What if I don’t know if I’ll be able to schedule the second dose within the 26- to 42-day time frame?  

If you can’t commit to your second dose of the vaccine within the required 26 to 42 days of your first dose, please wait to schedule the first dose at a time when you know you’ll be able to receive the second shot within the 26 to 42 days required (for Pfizer or Moderna).


Where can I get additional COVID-19 information?

Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center page here.



What about the cost (and other helpful information)?

Is the COVID-19 vaccine free? 

Geisinger will provide the vaccine to everyone with no out-of-pocket costs.


Will Geisinger Health Plan members have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. Geisinger Health Plan members will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For the latest updates on coronavirus coverage, click here.


Will Geisinger have a drive-through for COVID-19 vaccines?

During the initial phase, there are no plans for drive-through vaccinations. As weather conditions improve and as supplies allow, we’ll consider all options to help protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19.


How long will it take to distribute the vaccine?

We’ll administer the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as we can, based on the supplies we have and the guidelines outlined by the DOH.


Is the vaccine safe and effective?

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protocols for vaccine development are designed to make sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Because vaccines are given to healthy people, they’re held to a higher standard for emergency use authorization (EUA) than other types of medication or therapy.

We trust the accuracy and testing applied to the COVID-19 vaccine. While it still needs review for certain populations, the findings so far give us confidence in the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

More than 40,000 people safely received the vaccine during clinical trials, so those receiving the vaccine now are far from the first to get it.


What is an emergency use authorization? Is it the same as an FDA-approved vaccine?

An emergency use authorization (EUA) is different than FDA approval. FDA approval means that a drug is effective based on substantial evidence and that its benefits outweigh any risks.

An EUA also ensures benefits outweigh risks. It’s issued to give access to medical products or medications based on best available evidence when there are no adequate, approved or available options.

Several EUAs have been beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as those for monoclonal antibodies, remdesivir, convalescent plasma and testing technology. However, the EUA issued for the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most scientifically valid we have seen throughout the pandemic.


What are the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Experts continue to study the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, but early research has not shown cause for concern.


What are the immediate side effects?

Pain at the injection site, headache, muscle aches, low-grade fever and nausea are common. The second dose is more likely to produce side effects than the first.

Side effects typically resolve within 24 to 48 hours.

What are the ingredients?

Messenger RNA (mRNA), a genetic molecule, delivered in tiny capsules called lipid nanoparticles that are suspended in saline (salt water).


What do we know about mRNA and its use in vaccines?

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a genetic molecule that is the active ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA is synthetic, and not extracted from the actual COVID-19 virus.

These vaccines work by providing the genetic code for your cells to produce viral proteins. Once the proteins are produced, they trigger an immune response in your body so that you develop immunity against COVID-19.

Read more about mRNA and how it’s used in COVID vaccines.


How long does immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine last?

Both natural immunity (from being sick) and immunity produced by a vaccine are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about. Scientists are still studying how long both types of immunity last.

Right now, our behavior is our best defense against COVID-19. This means we must continue wearing masks, avoiding gatherings (both small and large) and washing our hands often.


Can people of any age get the vaccine?

Right now, the initial vaccines are available for people age 18* and older. Experts are still verifying that the COVID-19 vaccine will be safe and effective for infants, children and younger teens.


Are there any allergies that could react to the vaccine?

Currently, the EUA states that the vaccine should not be given to anyone with a known history of a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis.

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, talk with your primary care provider before getting the vaccine.


Are there any conditions or medical issues that would keep me from getting the vaccine?

At the current emergency use stage, there is no evidence that the vaccine poses any risk for people with pre-existing conditions. However, it may be less effective for people who are immunocompromised.


Is the COVID vaccine safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?

A pregnant or breastfeeding woman may choose to be vaccinated. In fact, people who are pregnant are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

There is no indication that the vaccine poses any risk to expectant or breastfeeding mothers.

What do I need to know about getting the vaccine?

Does the COVID-19 vaccine require two doses?

Yes, you need to have two doses of the same vaccine, given between 26 and 42 days apart.

The full two doses need to be administered for the best chance of effectiveness.


Is the second dose the same dosage as the first?

Yes, the second dose is the same dosage as the first, and it must be from the same manufacturer.


Once I get the vaccine, does that mean I can’t spread the virus? Can I stop masking and physical distancing?

No. At no time — before, during or after — receiving a vaccine, should you stop taking precautionary measures like masking, physical distancing and handwashing.

It will likely be well into 2021 before enough people are vaccinated to allow for loosening of preventive recommendations.


Can people who have a positive COVID-19 test receive the vaccine?

Before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you should meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for having recovered from COVID-19, meaning that you have been symptom-free for a safe period of time.


Can people who have symptoms of COVID-19 receive the vaccine?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms the day of your appointment, call your primary care provider for guidance and potential COVID-19 testing.

If you’ve recently had or currently have COVID-19, you'll need to wait at least 10 days after your symptoms started and 20 days if you were hospitalized from COVID-19 before receiving the vaccine.

 

Do I need the vaccine if I’ve already recovered from COVID-19?

Yes. We’re still learning about how long naturally produced antibodies (from being sick) last and the level of immunity they provide, but we do know that it’s variable and decreases over time. The vaccine would likely give you additional immunity.

If you’ve recently had or currently have COVID-19, you'll need to wait at least 10 days after your symptoms started and 20 days if you were hospitalized from COVID-19 before receiving the vaccine.

 

 


Are there any side effects from the vaccine?

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, it’s not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine.


What can I expect? What’s a normal side effect?

Side effects to the vaccine typically occur between 24 and 48 hours after you receive the injection. Pain at the injection site, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and chills are all possible and normal side effects. Side effects are more likely with the second dose.

These side effects are an indication that your body is reacting properly to the vaccine.


What would be considered an adverse or severe reaction?

If you experience any severe COVID-19 symptoms or anything irregular, beyond the normal reaction symptoms listed above, contact your primary care provider.


Who do I reach out to if I have an adverse reaction?

Contact your primary care provider immediately. If you have severe symptoms, head to the nearest emergency room or call 911.


What if I get COVID-19 symptoms between my first and second dose?

Call your primary care provider for guidance immediately.

The first vaccination dose does not provide immunity against COVID-19. The full two doses need to be administered for the best chance of effectiveness.

*Note: First-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments are currently unavailable. Check this page regularly for updates, as we’ll be posting new appointments as soon as we can.

**People age 16 and 17 can receive the Pfizer vaccine, but we can no longer schedule first doses for them due to limited Pfizer vaccine supply. Anyone age 16 or 17 who has already scheduled their first dose should keep their appointment.

 

 

 

Information for Geisinger employees

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COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1A