COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs and Resources

  • My mother lives at home, when can she get a vaccine?
    • Per PA’s plan, individuals age 75 and older are able to receive a vaccine in phase 1B – after hospital and health care personnel, nursing facilities, and first responders.  Individuals 65-74 are eligible to receive vaccine in phase 1C.  PA will be contracting with health care personnel like your doctor and local pharmacists to administer the vaccine once it is available.  If your mother receives formal in-home services or supports, she is part of PA’s plan for phase 1A.
  • What about younger seniors – when can they get a vaccine?
    • Per PA’s plan, individuals age 65-74 are eligible to receive vaccine in phase 1C.  If they are immunocompromised or have a diagnosis that makes them at a higher risk, they can be vaccinated in phase 1B and should consult their primary care physician.
  • I thought the federal government told states to start vaccinating people over 65?  I’m in that age range, where can I sign-up for my vaccine?
    • We do not yet know if DOH is adopting federal HHS Secretary Azar’s recommendation to states to begin vaccinating seniors 65 and older immediately.  For now, we continue to follow the phased distribution plan and are in phase 1A vaccinating health care workers.
  • When will first responders get vaccinated?
    • First responders are part of phase 1 and PA has ordered hospitals/health systems to assist in administering vaccines to their local EMS/EMTs in phase 1A for health care workers.  Fire personnel and law enforcement are included in phase 1B as critical, essential non-medical workers.
  • When will nursing facility residents be vaccinated?
    • Nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities like personal care homes and assisted living residences will receive vaccine through the federal pharmacy partnership.  Federal distribution is through CVS and Walgreens and began in PA on December 28 to nursing facilities.  Beginning January 18, the FPP will begin vaccinating the staff and residents of personal care homes and assisted living residences.  Following those, they will continue vaccinating all of the staff and residents of the LTCFs as outlined in the distribution plan.
  • I am a private physician (or chiropractor, optometrist, counselor, therapist, etc.), how do I get my vaccine?
    • Beginning on January 6, 2021, DOH Secretary Dr. Levine issued an order requiring hospitals and health systems to assist community-based or unaffiliated health care personnel in being immunized.  Phase 1A health care workers should use PA’s new Vaccine Provider map at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Vaccine.aspx.  to find a local provider enrolled with the state to administer vaccine.  The map also notes whether or not the enrolled vaccine provider has vaccine doses to distribute.
    • Beginning on January 18, DOH launched its Retail Pharmacy Partnership so that local pharmacies can receive vaccine and assist us in vaccinating our Phase 1A health care workers.  The retail pharmacies include 110 TopCo member-owned retail locations (i.e. Giant, Price Chopper, Redner’s, ShopRite, Tops Markets, Wegman’s and Weis Markets) and 60 Rite Aid locations in areas across the state.  These pharmacies will also assist the state in offering vaccine to the next population phases (1B, 1C, and 2).
  • When can mental health care providers get vaccinated?
    • Now.  Mental health care providers, both residential and outpatient, are included in phase 1A.  They should consult the Vaccine Provider map to locate a local provider with vaccine.
  • What if they run out of vaccine for people to get their second dose?
    • The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose after 21 days from the first and the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose after 28 days.  For every dose of vaccine that the federal government distributes, the second dose is withheld to ensure it will be available.
  • I’m healthy and live at home, when can I be vaccinated?
    • Vaccinating the general public is now part of phase 2 of the distribution plan.  Depending on how much vaccine is available and how quickly PA moves through phases 1A-1C, will determine how soon vaccine will be available for the general public.  The vaccine is voluntary.
  • Can my employer force me to get vaccinated?  What if I am a health care worker?
    • No.  The vaccine is not required; however, employers and businesses could impose requirements for those choosing not to be vaccinated, such as safety precautions or requirements.  Everyone, including health care workers, are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated by federal and state public health officials.
  • When will school teachers get vaccinated?
    • Medical personnel at schools are included in 1A but those with non-medical direct student contact, such as teachers and staff, are part of phase 1B of the state distribution plan.
  • Are children able to get the vaccine?
    • No.  Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is only approved for age 16 and older and the Moderna vaccine is only approved for age 18 and older.

Other useful resources:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Vaccine-FAQs.aspx

  • COVID-19 Complaint Form

https://apps.health.pa.gov/covidcomplaint

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage FAQ

https://www.insurance.pa.gov/coronavirus/Pages/covid-vaccine-faqs.aspx

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Enrollment

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/programs/immunizations/Pages/COVID-19-Vaccine-Providers.aspx

  • Federal Pharmacy Partnership (Vaccinating LTC Facilities) Fact Sheet

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Federal-Pharmacy-Partnership-Fact-Sheet.aspx

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Overview for Phase 1A health care personnel unaffiliated with hospital/health system

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Phase-1A-Healthcare-Personnel-Not-Affiliated-Fact-Sheet.aspx

  • Pennsylvania Vaccine Provider Map

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Vaccine.aspx