Penn State Health offers booster shots and third doses for eligible patients
Penn State Health is now offering booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to fully vaccinated individuals who meet eligibility requirements set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to help increase their protection. Adults at highest risk for COVID-19 who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago can receive a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The DOH recommends that:
- Those who are 65 years of age and older or are residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster dose
- Those who are 50 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster dose
- Those who are 18 to 49 years old with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster dose, based on their individual benefits and risks
- Those who are 18 to 64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to either their occupation or institutional setting may receive a booster dose, based on their individual benefits and risks.
Penn State Health also has third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available to certain immunocompromised people ages 12 and older. The doses can be administered as soon as 28 days after the second doses. Among those eligible for third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are patients 12 and older who 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 two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
- Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Have active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response
A third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is part of the primary vaccine series that some immunocompromised patients need to have a better response to the vaccination.
Booster shots provide a boost when the initially sufficient immune response to the vaccine wanes over time. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose is not authorized for anyone under the age of 18 regardless of medical condition or occupation. There have been no recommendations yet regarding a booster dose for the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. People who received those vaccines as their primary series are not eligible for a booster dose with the Pfizer vaccine at this time.
Penn State Health is encouraging those who meet current eligibility criteria for booster shots or third doses to register and schedule online at vaccine-scheduler.pennstatehealth.org or by calling a central scheduling number: 1-844-774-8883. Additional information related to COVID-19 and the vaccine is available on Penn State Health’s COVID-19 vaccination information page.
Penn State Health also offers the opportunity for those with questions about COVID-19 vaccines to speak with a health care provider though Penn State Health OnDemand Vaccine Advisor, a virtual service staffed by dedicated Penn State Health nurses. This free service is available Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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