Skip to main content
Examining vaccine prior to dosage.

Who we're vaccinating now:

  • Anyone age 12 or older

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.

Updated June 16, 2021

The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a milestone in our journey through the pandemic — and one that has inspired 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 case numbers are dropping as more people are vaccinated, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. Until the majority of people in our communities are vaccinated, keep taking precautionary measures where necessary.

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

Note: Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them for vaccination.

Vaccine eligibility:

When can I get a vaccine?

Scheduling for those who qualify per the state’s guidelines


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?

Kids and the COVID-19 vaccine

When can I get the vaccine?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) has outlined the distribution of the COVID vaccine based on risk and need. Geisinger has been vaccinating people who are eligible under the state’s guidelines.

Protecting these groups will keep our patients and communities safer — but getting everyone vaccinated is going to take time.

For the latest information, visit the PA DOH vaccination information page.


Who can be vaccinated at Geisinger right now?

Here at Geisinger, vaccination* is currently open to anyone age 12 or older.  

*Note: Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them for vaccination.


Scheduling for those who qualify per the state guidelines* 

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

You can schedule your COVID-19 vaccine through myGeisinger. If you don’t have a myGeisinger account, you can call 570-284-3657.

A tip: Having a myGeisinger account set up will make things as easy and quick as possible.

Do you need a myGeisinger account or a medical record number (MRN)?

Having a myGeisinger account is the fastest, easiest way to make a vaccine appointment.

Here’s how to get started, depending on which category you fall into.

If you need a vaccine:

If your child needs a vaccine:

  1. My child has a myGeisinger account and I have access to it to schedule appointments for them.
  • Great! Log into your account, select the child’s profile and schedule their appointment using the “COVID-19 Vaccine” option as the reason for the visit.
  1. I need to create an account for my child or get access to my child’s account.
  • Visit this page and click on the appropriate age group for your child. Follow the instructions to request proxy access. (Please note, it may take 5 to 7 business days to receive a response.)
  • Or you can call 570-284-3657.

If you can’t self-schedule through myGeisinger, call 570-284-3657. However, due to high call volumes, using myGeisinger is the fastest way to secure your appointment.


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

When you schedule your vaccination, you’ll have the option to go to one of four Geisinger COVID-19 community vaccination centers throughout our coverage area:

  • Danville
  • Jersey Shore
  • Lewistown
  • Philipsburg
  • Pittston

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.


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 (e.g., certificate, license — this won’t apply to everyone) and a valid government-issued ID (e.g. driver’s license, state ID, passport). 

Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them for vaccination.

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 get your second dose at the same location you got your first dose.


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

The vaccine we administer requires two doses of the same vaccine given 21 to 42 days apart. 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 21- to 42-day time frame?  

If you can’t commit to your second dose of the vaccine within the required 21 to 42 days of your first dose, please wait to schedule your first dose at a time when you know you’ll be able to receive the second shot within the 21- to 42-day timeframe.


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 be giving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?

We don’t anticipate receiving a supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the state.



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.

Those receiving the vaccine now are far from the first to get it. Tens of thousands of trial participants and more than 46 million Americans have already been fully vaccinated.


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?

In the COVID-19 vaccines that we administer, the active ingredient is messenger RNA (mRNA), a genetic molecule that's 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.

Right now, we know that it takes about 2 weeks after receiving your last required COVID-19 vaccine dose for your body to build up full immunity.

As experts continue to study how long both types of immunity lasts, our behavior is our best defense against COVID-19. This means we must continue taking precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 until enough people can be vaccinated.


Can people of any age get the vaccine?

Right now, the initial vaccines are available for people age 12 and older. Experts are still verifying that the COVID-19 vaccine will be safe and effective for infants and children younger than 12.


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. When you’re vaccinated at Geisinger, you need to have two doses of the same vaccine, given between 21 and 42 days apart.

Both full doses need to be administered to receive the complete preventive benefit.


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.

 

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?

All available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, so it doesn't matter which one you get — and you won’t be able to choose. We, and other healthcare organizations, are administering vaccines based on available supplies.

The most important thing is getting whichever vaccine is available to you as soon as you're eligible.


Once I get the vaccine, can I stop masking and physical distancing?

Visit the CDC to see the latest guidance for those who are fully vaccinated.

Until the majority of people in our communities are vaccinated, keep taking precautionary measures where necessary.

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

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: Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them for vaccination.

 

Kids and the COVID-19 vaccine

The FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have authorized the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer) in children ages 12 to 15. As a parent or legal guardian, you may have some questions.
 

Here’s what you need to know:

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for kids?

Yes. Just as the Pfizer vaccine was studied before it was authorized for emergency use in people age 16 and up, it was also studied for use in children ages 12 to 15.

In late March, Pfizer released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 participants age 12 to 15. Among the fully vaccinated children, there were no cases of COVID-19, while there were 18 cases among those who received a placebo.

Additionally, Pfizer has begun studying the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 2 years old. To date, no serious side effects or other concerns have been reported.

Do 12- to 15-year-olds get a different dose of the COVID-19 vaccine than adults?

No. Kids age 12 to 15 will receive the same vaccine and dosage (administered in two doses) as adults.

Will my child experience any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

In clinical trials, children were found to have similar side effects as adults, including pain at the injection site, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. Or your child may not have any side effects — but if they do, they should be back to normal within 24 to 48 hours.

If kids aren’t at a high risk of getting severe COVID-19, why should I get my child vaccinated?

While children are less affected by COVID-19, they can (and do) get the virus — and can infect other more vulnerable family and community members. Today, children make up 22% of COVID-19 cases in the United States. Getting your child vaccinated not only protects them, but it also protects those around them.

After COVID infection, some children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (or MIS-C), a rare, but potentially dangerous condition associated with COVID-19 that often leads to hospitalization and sometimes death.

How can I schedule my child’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

See scheduling for those who qualify per the state guidelines to learn how to schedule your child’s vaccine appointment.

Your child can get the COVID-19 vaccine if it's been at least 14 days since they've gotten any other vaccine.

Note: Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian with them for vaccination.

Information for Geisinger employees

Log in with your employee ID to access COVID-19 information