Penn State prepared to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine, if asked

February 17, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — 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.

“We’ve offered our assistance to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to help with vaccine distribution and are ready to assist if called upon,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “We’ve leveraged our considerable expertise in areas such as logistics, information technology, communications and health care — with various Penn State units and academic colleges stepping up — to formulate a robust plan to be prepared if the state looks to the University for further support.  This may provide a valuable option in meeting vaccinating our campus communities, as well as the surrounding communities, if asked.”

The University has purchased vaccine freezer storage that can accommodate the specific temperature requirements of the existing Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Once the pandemic subsides, the freezers will be repurposed by the University for research and other operational activities that require the use of cold storage.

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

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

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. 

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.

Vaccine recipients are reminded that they must continue to wear masks and physically distance themselves from others. Vaccination also does not exempt students, faculty and staff from participating in Penn State’s COVID-19 testing programs.

As additional information regarding vaccine distribution becomes available, the University will share updates on Penn State News and on its Virus Information website.

Last Updated February 18, 2021