COVID-19 Vaccination Information
- Are the Vaccines SAFE?
- Will the Vaccine make Me Sick?
- Does the Vaccine give you COVID?
- Do I need the vaccine if I already had COVID?
- Who should get the Vaccine?
- Am I Eligible Yet?
In the United States, COVID vaccines are currently being approved under emergency use authorizations (EUA) from the FDA before they can be distributed. The EUA is supported by a Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declaration that circumstances exist to justify the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To gain EUA approval, the vaccine manufacturers must present data from clinical trials showing that the vaccine is effective and safe based on all data collected to date.
The FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine on December 11, 2020, and the Moderna vaccine on December 18, 2020. The data from the clinical trials for these two vaccines support their safety.
Since its release in England, Canada and here in the US, the Pfizer vaccine has already been given to tens of thousands of individuals and that experience so far confirms the safety. There are robust plans in place to continue to monitor safety as those vaccines are rolled out across the world.
When you are exposed to a virus, like the viruses that cause the common cold or influenza, your immune system responds. The symptoms you experience, like body aches, congestion, fever, etc., are caused by your immune’s systems response to the virus. Similarly, when you get a vaccine, the goal is to boost your immune system, and when that happens, you get some symptoms of the illness.
According to the FDA, the most common side effects from the Pfizer vaccine are pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain and joint pain. These symptoms typically last a day or two. This FDA Fact Sheet on the Pfizer vaccine has more information just click here.
Fatigue, headaches and muscle pain are the most common side effects from Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, along with some rare symptoms like intractable nausea or vomiting and facial swelling that are likely triggered by the shots, according to new data released by the Food and Drug Administration. For the FDA Fact sheet and more information on the Moderna vaccine, click here
Among all those who have gotten vaccine so far, three individuals experienced severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) within 15 minutes of getting the vaccine. The three were given appropriate medical treatment and recovered. The cause of this is being investigated. Although extremely rare, vaccination providers should be prepared to address such emergencies.
No. The vaccine does NOT give you COVID-19. It protects you from getting covid-19. It can cause you to not feel well for a day or two.
People who had COVID-19 have at least three months of protection from reinfection, so if you have recently recovered from COVID-19, you can likely wait to get it. Frontline workers who have not had COVID-19 in the past 3 months may be given priority for the vaccine. However, eventually even those who had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine.
Right now – the Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and older and the Moderna vaccine is approved for ages 18 and older. People with a history of allergy to a component of the vaccine or had anaphylaxis after the first dose should not get the vaccine. A number of organizations, including the CDC, have put out guidance for people who are pregnant and lactating. Please refer to resources from those organizations for more detail.
Supplies are extremely limited, so we must prioritize who gets vaccinated first — starting with those most at risk of catching COVID and experiencing complications.
Use this guide to see if you are currently eligible for a COVID vaccine and to find out how to get one. If you have questions about the vaccination process in Pennsylvania, please call the Pennsylvania Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258. To begin the Vaccine Eligibility Quiz, click here
- How's the Vaccine Distributed?
- phases for vaccine distribution
- Who is in Phase 1A?
- Who is Phase 1B?
- Who is in Phase 1C?
- Who is in Phase 2?
The Health Department will follow the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health phases for vaccine distribution. A full description of each phase and a list of those included in each phase can be found in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan which can be found on the state's COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.
As of January 27, 2021, the state is currently in Phase 1A and have begun vaccinating those most at-risk of illness, such as health care workers and Pennsylvanians living in long-term care facilities, persons age 65 and older, and those age 16-64 with high-risk conditions. The region’s healthcare systems will be responsible for vaccinating their affiliated healthcare workers. CVS and Walgreens will begin working to vaccinate some of our most vulnerable residents living in long-term care facilities. For a list of who is included in each phase, please click on the additional tabs.
Because Pennsylvania has a high number of long-term care facilities and health care workers, it may take longer to move to and through the 1A and 1B phases of vaccine distribution. Again, we ask the public for patience.
PHASE 1A [Current Phase] as of January 27, 2021
Phase 1A is the first vaccine distribution step. The vaccine is currently being distributed to:
Long-term care facility residents
Health care personnel including, but not limited to:
Emergency medical service personnel
Health professions students and trainees
Direct support professionals
Clinical personnel in school settings or correctional facilities
Contractual HCP not directly employed by the health care facility
Persons not directly involved in patient care but potentially exposed to infectious material that can transmit disease among or from health care personnel and patients
Persons ages 65 and older
Persons ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions:
Chronic kidney disease
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
Sickle cell disease
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
People in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and persons receiving home and community-based services
Correctional officers and other workers serving people in congregate care settings not included in Phase 1A
Food and agricultural workers
U.S. Postal Service workers
Grocery store workers
Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship
Public transit workers
Individuals caring for children or adults in early childhood and adult day programs
Essential workers in these sectors:
Transportation and logistics
Water and wastewater
Finance, including bank tellers
Energy, including nuclear reactors
Federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff
Public health workers
All individuals not previously covered who are 16 and older and do not have a contraindication to the vaccine (note that at this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech product is approved for those age 16 and 17)
WHERE CAN I FIND A VACCINE PROVIDER TO GET VACCINATED? And, Where in Butler County?
Currently, in Butler County, the vaccination is available only through Butler Health System and UPMC Cranberry. These are facilities who have the ability to meet the storage requirements of the vaccine. You cannot walk in to receive a vaccination, YOU MUST HAVE AN APPOINTMENT no matter where you go. The PADOH has asked all Pennsylvanians to practice patience and to receive the vaccine in the county in which they reside. This is a massive and complex operation which requires patience on our part. Those who want a vaccine will be able to get a vaccine, but it will take months not weeks to complete the distribution process.
As additional vaccine is approved for distribution by other pharmaceutical companies, availability will expand to additional providers. According to the Department of Health, they have a partnership with both Topco (Giant Eagle pharmacies) and RiteAid in Pennsylvania who will be the next providers to come online with vaccine. Again, when it is available.
To learn more about Butler Health System's vaccination plan, testing information and scheduling, please click here.
To learn more about UPMC Cranberry's vaccination plan, testing information and scheduling, please click here.
For a comprehensive state, updated list click on the coronavirus picture on the left, to view the PADOH map and find a place to schedule your vaccine. Please use the information the provider has listed for connecting with them.