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Vaccination and College Students

Background

As the college semester comes to an end, vaccinating college students is important as we work to protect them, their families, and their communities. College campuses across the commonwealth will be much safer for students, teachers, and the entire community if students are fully vaccinated prior to returning to school for the Fall semester.

Some college students may receive their first dose of a two-dose series while still on campus but may return home before receiving their second dose. This may include traveling to another county or state for vaccination, which would require utilizing a different provider for their second dose.

What do students need to do as they get vaccinated?

We encourage college students, and all Pennsylvanians, to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Everyone age 16 and older is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Choosing to get a vaccine marks an important step to protect your own health and the health of everyone around you as we continue to unite against COVID-19.

Students should work to schedule their vaccination appointment at their earliest convenience at a location closest to them.

What if the student received their first dose before returning home?

If students return home prior to receiving their second vaccine dose of a two-dose series, they should work with a provider in their community to get that second dose at the appropriate time. Students should remember to bring their vaccination card with them to their second dose appointment. And it is important to get the same vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) for each of the two doses in the series.

College students returning home at the end of the semester, even if that means to another state, should seek a second dose of vaccine (if applicable) as we want them to be fully protected against COVID-19. They should state that they cannot return to the same provider because of logistical challenges.

What role do vaccine providers play in this?

Vaccine providers should work with college students to ensure they get their full set of vaccinations. If possible, both appointments should be scheduled at the same location.

If that is not possible due to a student returning home at the end of the semester, providers at the home location should work to ensure the college student gets fully vaccinated using the same vaccine they received as their first dose. The Department of Health will support Pennsylvania providers in these requests for second doses. It expects that numbers may not properly align, so providers are encouraged to include an explanation in the notes when filling out the second dose survey.

It is then important that the vaccine providers accurately represent this when they report the data to PA-SIIS.

Resources for more information

Information on this page provided by Pennsylvania Department of Health.