Arm with Band Aid

University reminds employees of flu, COVID-19 vaccines, resources and policies

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —  Now is the time for Penn State employees to protect themselves and those around them by getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccination. The University strongly encourages all employees to take the time to receive these vaccines this fall. There are many opportunities for our employees throughout the commonwealth to receive their vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccination for anyone six months of age and older, with some exceptions. Typically, it’s recommended to get vaccinated in early fall, because it’s best to receive the vaccination prior to the flu beginning its spread in the community. It is important not to wait until flu season is in full swing or when there is an outbreak in the area to get the vaccine, since it takes about two weeks for the body to build up protection after receiving a flu shot.

Highmark health care plan coverage

For employees and their dependents who have one of the Highmark health care plans, the flu and COVID-19 vaccine are covered 100% with no co-pay or deductible. The vaccines can be obtained at most in-network pharmacies, as well as in-network primary care physician offices. For more information, visit the Highmark website

Resources to find vaccinations

Penn State Human Resources recommends the following options for employees seeking a flu or COVID-19 vaccination this fall. These locations are government based, and a parent or guardian must be present with individuals under the age of 18 to receive the flu vaccine.

PA Department of Health 

  • Offers free flu vaccines to uninsured or underinsured individuals. 
  • Requires an appointment. 
  • Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) 

Health Center Directory 

  • PA State Health Center 
  • Offers free flu vaccines to uninsured or underinsured individuals. 
  • Requires an appointment. 
  • More information available here. 

Find a Vaccine Location 

Federal public health emergency ended May 11 

As announced in Penn State Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ended the public health emergency on May 11. Starting on June 1, any COVID-related testing is no longer covered at 100% and are subject to deductible and coinsurance under the Penn State medical plans. 

As a result of the end of the emergency declaration, several health insurance coverage and cost-share waivers have changed including:     

  • COVID-19 vaccines will remain covered through both of the Highmark Blue Shield plans at $0 cost share, when provided by an in-network provider as a preventive service
  • Over-the-counter COVID-19 testing will be an eligible expense through a FSA or HSA, or an employee can pay out of pocket.  
  • The federal government is providing four free at-home COVID-19 tests for every U.S. household through

The services listed below will continue to be covered under the Penn State Highmark Blue Shield health care plans’ standard cost share amounts (copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance where applicable):    

  • COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing
  • Related services to diagnose COVID-19 — office visit (in-person or telehealth), emergency room or urgent care
  • Prescription antiviral treatment

Benefits-eligible employees can contact the Penn State Highmark concierge customer service team at 844-945-5509 with further questions. 

What should employees do if they have been exposed to COVID-19?  

It is recommended that employees exposed to COVID-19 follow CDC guidance for masking, testing and isolation, as needed.  

Staff who need to be off work should designate their time in Workday as “Common > Sick” during their absence. If their sick hours have been exhausted, they can use other accrued time off for their absence. 

Those individuals who are still symptomatic after 10 days should contact Absence Management for a leave of absence, via phone at 814-865-1782 or email at [email protected]

Contact HR Services at 814-865-1473 with questions.