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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 September 10, 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 many people have received the COVID-19 vaccine, the 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

Third COVID vaccine dose information


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, including your third dose, 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 our COVID-19 community vaccination centers or a participating Geisinger Pharmacy:

Community vaccination centers:

  • Danville
  • Jersey Shore
  • Lewistown
  • Philipsburg
  • Pittston

Participating Geisinger Pharmacy locations: 

Make sure you choose a location 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.

If you are receiving your second or third vaccine dose, be sure to bring your vaccine card to your appointment.

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. 

 

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 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.

 

I’m fully vaccinated. Do I need a third COVID vaccine dose?

The FDA and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for the small percentage of people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. These people may benefit from an additional dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.

According to the CDC, people who are eligible to receive a third dose include those who have received the full two-dose series of the Comirnaty/Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine and have:
  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose steroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response

If you’re eligible, you can schedule your vaccine in MyGeisinger. You can also check the PA DOH website to see if a third dose is available sooner elsewhere in your community.

Scientists are still evaluating whether, or when, an additional dose or booster shot might be necessary for otherwise healthy vaccinated people.

In the meantime, visit the CDC website for details and be sure to check this page for the latest updates.

What is a third dose of the vaccine and how is it different than a booster?

A third dose of the vaccine and booster shot work in the same way, both providing added protection against a virus.

A booster shot is something given after your immunity has gone down over time — something that happens naturally. When comparing a booster with a third dose, the shots themselves are not different but the timing of when they are received is.

The FDA and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices approved third doses of the COVID vaccine for those who are immunocompromised and have received both doses of either the Comirnaty/Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine.

A third dose should given to those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised no sooner than 28 days after dose two and be from the same series as doses one and two. For example, if you received both doses of the vaccine from Comirnaty/Pfizer, then the third dose should be from Comirnaty/Pfizer as well.

If you receive a third dose of the vaccine and are immunocompromised, continue following preventive measures like wearing masks, distancing and avoiding crowded areas — especially in areas where infection rates are on the rise. And if you live with immunocompromised people, you should follow these measures and be vaccinated as well to protect them.

We’re still learning about COVID-19 booster shots and whether, or when, an additional dose or booster shot might be necessary for otherwise-healthy vaccinated people. People who may receive a booster in the future are those with healthier immune systems who have already received both doses of Comirnaty/Pfizer or Moderna. A booster may also become available for those who got the single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

 

How do I schedule my third COVID vaccine dose?

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.
 
For more information on how to set up a MyGeisinger account, read the “Scheduling for those who qualify per the state guidelines” section on this page.


Can I receive a third COVID vaccine dose at Geisinger if I’ve lost my vaccine card or received my first two doses elsewhere?

If you received your COVID-19 vaccine at Geisinger and have misplaced your vaccine card, you can look up your vaccine information using MyGeisinger.
 
Here’s how:
 
1. Sign in to your MyGeisinger account or the MyChart mobile app. 
2. Select the “menu” icon (which looks like three horizontal bars).
3. Navigate to the “My Record” section and select “COVID-19.”
4. Your COVID-19 vaccination info will appear. You can show this at your third dose vaccine appointment. 
 
If you’ve received your first two vaccine doses at another location, you can still receive your third dose at Geisinger. Just bring your vaccine card to your Geisinger appointment. 
 

 

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.


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.

Full FDA approval comes after an emergency use authorization. In fact, the Comirnaty/Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved for people age 16 and older.

We trust the accuracy and testing applied to the COVID-19 vaccine. While it’s still being reviewed 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. More than 176 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 from full 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 that 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 vaccines is one of the most scientifically valid we have seen throughout the pandemic.

The Comirnaty/Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for use in those ages 16 and older. And we anticipate full FDA approval of the other two available COVID vaccines in the coming months.


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.


I’m fully vaccinated. Do I need to worry about a breakthrough COVID infection?

It takes about 2 weeks after receiving your last required COVID-19 vaccine dose for your body to build up full immunity.

And studies have shown that after 6 months, the vaccine still protects you from severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.

Scientists are continuing to study how long this immunity lasts. But so far breakthrough infections appear to be rare, and when they do occur, symptoms tend to be mild.

 

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.

 

Does the vaccine offer protection against the delta variant (and other COVID-19 variants)?

Studies have shown that the available COVID-19 vaccines are effective against some COVID variants, including delta.


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 vaccinated.

 

Once I'm vaccinated, can I stop masking and physical distancing in public?

Visit the CDC to see the latest guidance for those who are fully vaccinated — you’re considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving the last required dose of the COVID vaccine.

If you aren’t fully vaccinated yet, continue taking all precautions until you are.

Even if you’re fully vaccinated, there are certain places where you still need to wear a mask and continue taking precautions, like hospitals and healthcare settings.

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.

 

Do I need to wear a mask at Geisinger?

Yes, all patients and visitors need to wear a mask (even people who are vaccinated).

Wearing a mask protects a lot of people — especially those who are very sick. So it’s still required inside all Geisinger buildings.

Forgot your mask? We’re happy to give you one. Just ask.

See our updated visitor policy.

 

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 (Comirnaty/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. The Comirnaty/Pfizer vaccine was well studied before it was authorized for emergency use in children ages 12 to 15.

To date, no significant safety concerns have been reported. Children will continue to be monitored, and data reviewed, after vaccination to understand side effects and their relationship to the COVID vaccine.

 

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.

 

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause myocarditis?

You’ve likely heard about the small number of children and adolescents who have had mild heart inflammation, called myocarditis or pericarditis, after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

These reports are very rare, given the millions of COVID vaccine doses administered in children and adolescents. And of the confirmed cases, the vast majority completely recovered with monitoring, minor treatment and rest.

The CDC is actively monitoring these reports to understand their relationship to the COVID-19 vaccine. However, we do know that COVID-19 itself is shown to cause myocarditis and potentially more severe illness in young, healthy people that could lead to heart and other organ damage. The benefits of getting your child vaccinated far outweigh the risks.

If your child has symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart within a week after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, contact your pediatrician.

 

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. 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.

 

Will the COVID vaccine protect my child from the delta variant (and other COVID variants)?

Studies have shown that the available COVID-19 vaccines are effective against some COVID variants, including delta.

 

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

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

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