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DOH to Text Reminders about Second COVID-19 Shot

State urges residents to complete vaccine series for protection from Delta variant

July 29, 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) is launching a campaign to reach about 254,000 Pennsylvanians who missed the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine series.

The DOH campaign will target individuals who did not complete the second dose of their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at least ten weeks after their first dose, Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said during a press briefing today.

It’s not too late to make an appointment for the second dose of the vaccine—even if you are outside the recommended 42-day window to complete the series, Acting Secretary Beam said.

Next week, the state plans to send a text message to people who received their first dose between December 14, 2020 and May 14, 2021 and did not follow up to get their second dose.

“This is very important because you need to be fully vaccinated to have maximum protection against the Delta variant, which is spreading across the country,” Acting Secretary Beam said.

Other important takeaways from the DOH media briefing:

  • On state and federal masking guidance:  Wearing a mask is an important tool for communities with a high or substantial level of community spread of COVID-19. The DOH continues to emphasize getting vaccinated to help keep Pennsylvania’s community transmission from reaching these levels
  • State of transmission:  Six Pennsylvania counties are in the high (Cameron County) and substantial (Adams, Northampton, Wyoming, Crawford, Lawrence) categories for COVID-19 transmission. The rest of Pennsylvania’s counties are in the moderate to low levels
  • School reopenings:  DOH and Department of Education encourage local school districts to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure a safe return to school
  • Tracking breakthrough cases:  DOH officials are closely tracking breakthrough cases, while noting about 97 percent of the individuals in the hospital and 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths are from unvaccinated individuals
  • Delta in Pennsylvania:  About 65 percent of the cases in the region are likely from the Delta variant, Beam said 

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are two-dose series. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose series. More than 62 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, state records show.

“There is no excuse, and there is not time to lose,” Acting Health Secretary Beam said of getting vaccinated.Doctor writing reminder to get COVID-19 second dose

As of yesterday, Pennsylvania recorded 1,088 new COVID-19 cases, 445 hospitalizations, 46 patients on ventilators, and seven COVID-19 deaths, said Dr. Denise Johnson, acting physician general.

“The disappointing part of all of that is that these hospitalizations, cases, and deaths could have been prevented,” Dr. Johnson said. “We know that getting vaccinated significantly decreases your risk of getting sick with COVID and being hospitalized.”

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals continue to urge residents to make an appointment to receive the safe, free, and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are widely available and are critical to our efforts to end the pandemic.

Learn more about the available options in your community.