Vaccine Information

Vaccine Information

What you need to know about coronavirus vaccines

Planning


  • While Penn State has not been named a distribution site for COVID-19 vaccines, the University has made comprehensive plans to assist quickly, if asked by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Guidance


  • Vaccination status does not exempt students or employees from participating in testing for COVID-19.

  • Regardless of vaccination status, students and employees must continue to follow Penn State’s Health Guidelines, including adhering to masking requirements, practicing physical distancing and abiding by local ordinances.

  • When vaccines do become widely available, Penn State strongly encourages participation as part of the effort to mitigate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities.

Eligibility


  • Visit Pennsylvania’s vaccine website for information on when you may be eligible to receive a vaccine and where those vaccines may be available in your community.

  • Education workers who are in contact with students — including faculty members, staff members, and undergraduate and graduate students who help provide instructional, health-related or other services on behalf of Penn State — will be eligible under the commonwealth’s priority Phase 1B. No timeline has been announced for the start of Phase 1B.

Penn State Expert Insights

As part of a video series in which Penn State faculty experts help educate the community on the latest information related to the COVID-19 vaccine, Andrew Read, director of the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences, explains that virus evolution is expected and data show that the new vaccines are providing cross-protection and are very effective at protecting against severe disease, hospitalizations and deaths.

As part of a video series in which Penn State faculty experts help educate the community on the latest information related to the COVID-19 vaccine, Andrew Read, director of the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences, explains that virus evolution is expected and data show that the new vaccines are providing cross-protection and are very effective at protecting against severe disease, hospitalizations and deaths.

Penn State's vaccine distribution preparedness

While Penn State has not been named a distribution site for COVID-19 vaccines, the University is prepared to assist quickly if asked by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Penn State’s plans leverage its considerable expertise in areas including logistics, information technology, communications and health care, along with various units and academic colleges, to formulate a robust plan if the commonwealth turns to the University for additional support.

The University has purchased vaccine freezer storage that can accommodate the specific temperature requirements of the existing Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

The University’s planning efforts also include preparing on-campus facilities for vaccine storage and administering doses to patients; identifying which University employees can be vaccinated at this time under various priority tiers; considering staff requirements; prepping University Health Services; and technology support, including patient registration, location planning, vaccine management and vaccine status tracking.

Where faculty, staff and students fall in Pennsylvania’s distribution plan

With initial vaccine supplies limited, the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed by the Commonwealth in four priority phases — 1A, 1B, 1C and 2.

Education workers who are in contact with students — including faculty members, staff members, and undergraduate and graduate students who help provide instructional, health-related or other services on behalf of Penn State — will be eligible under the commonwealth’s Phase 1B. No timeline has been announced for the start of Phase 1B.

All other individuals age 16 or older not previously covered under other priority phases — including students and other employees — will be vaccinated under Phase 2.

Vaccine information

Penn State has not been named as a distribution site for the COVID-19 vaccine, and vaccine distribution may vary by county across the commonwealth. While the vaccine is not yet widely available to the general public, when it does become available, the University strongly encourages participation as part of the effort to mitigate the longer impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities.

The University has helped select groups of front-line employees, including workers from Physical Plant, dining and residence halls and health care personnel, receive vaccinations as dictated by the priority phases established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Faculty, staff and students should visit Pennsylvania’s vaccine website for information on the defined phases; when they may be eligible to receive a vaccine; and where those vaccines may be available in their communities. Education workers who are in contact with students would be eligible in phase 1B, including faculty and staff members who are in contact with students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students who help provide instructional, health-related or other services to students.

While some employees at select campuses have been able to receive vaccines, these isolated instances were the result of special circumstances where local providers made the vaccine available to Penn State faculty and staff.

Penn State does not determine an individual’s status or eligibility for the vaccine, but faculty and staff over the age of 65 and those under age 65 with specific CDC-defined conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus are encouraged to seek a vaccine from a local health care provider when available. Additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Pennsylvania is available at the web site listed above, including where to obtain a shot locally and a quiz to determine eligibility. Keep in mind that circumstances may be different depending on where you live; some areas have provided vaccines to people identified as phase 1B.

Additional information about the vaccine is available in this Penn State News article.

Vaccination does not exempt students, faculty and staff members from participating in the University’s COVID-19 testing programs this spring. The vaccine is a tool in our fight against COVID-19, and students and employees must continue to practice other mitigation efforts, like wearing a mask, hand-washing and physical distancing.

Additional information about the vaccine is available in this Penn State News article.

At this time, the vaccine is not yet available to the general public. When vaccines do become widely available, Penn State strongly encourages participation as part of the effort to mitigate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities. More information will be forthcoming through the Pennsylvania Department of Health (which is overseeing the vaccine distribution) and the University, and as we weigh the pandemic’s continuing impact on our communities.