Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine for Pre-K to 12 School Staff
This page was created on March 3, 2021.
Which PK-12 school staff are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) under this special initiative?
All Pre-K to 12 public and non-public school staff will have an opportunity to be vaccinated under this initiative, with the exception of Philadelphia. Philadelphia County is a separate vaccine jurisdiction and has their own information about vaccine distribution.
School staff are any Pre-K to 12 school employees, contractors, or independent consultants that typically interact with students in a school setting during the regular school day, including teachers, classroom support staff, early childhood education (ECE) professionals employed by the school entity, school administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school nurses, speech/occupational therapists, custodians, and other school employees.
Are Early Childhood Education teachers and child care providers included in this special initiative?
Yes. Early childhood education (ECE) professionals employed by a PK-12 school entity will have an opportunity to be vaccinated through their school entity and local IU, along with other PK-12 school staff.
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is working with the PAKey to coordinate J&J vaccinations for staff in community-based ECE settings. This includes all ECE staff in center, group and family child care settings, home visiting programs, early intervention, and Head Start and similar programs.
Additional information about this special vaccination opportunity for community-based child care providers is available at
Is vaccination mandatory?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory.
How will PreK-12 school staff receive the vaccine under this special initiative?
J&J vaccines received by Pennsylvania from the federal government will be distributed to Intermediate Units (IU) based on the proportion of Pre-K to 12 public and non-public school employees and contracted staff in each IU's region.
IUs will work with school entities to identify staff who are interested in receiving the vaccine and help staff register for appointments at regional vaccination sites.
Under this special initiative, will all PreK-12 school staff have access to vaccinations immediately or will certain schools and staff be given priority?
When the J&J vaccine is available, the following individuals will be given the first opportunity to register:
- PreK-12 teachers of students with disabilities and English learners and related in-classroom support staff;
- Elementary teachers and related in-classroom support staff, beginning with the youngest students;
- Bus drivers/transporters, and support staff and contracted service providers who have direct contact with elementary students; and
- Other priority school staff who typically have regular, sustained in-person contact with students during the school day.
Where will PreK-12 school staff receive the vaccine under this special initiative?
There will be at least one vaccination site per IU region. School staff will be directed to the vaccination site in the region where their school is located. The Pennsylvania National Guard and AMI, a health organization contracted by DOH, will direct operations and administer doses to school staff at these sites.
When can PreK-12 school staff begin receiving the vaccination under this special initiative?
Regional vaccination sites are expected to begin operations between March 10-13, 2021. School staff will receive additional information about the registration and scheduling process directly from their employer or IU.
Is there a cost to receive the vaccine?
Information on all COVID-19 vaccine cost and insurance coverage.