Pitt: Roughly half of students, employees vaccinated

Pitt+held+a+vaccination+clinic+with+the+Allegheny+Health+Department+in+late+January+to+vaccinate+around+800+healthcare+workers%2C+including+Pitt+students%2C+in+the+1A+priority+group.

Rachhana Baliga | Staff Photographer

Pitt held a vaccination clinic with the Allegheny Health Department in late January to vaccinate around 800 healthcare workers, including Pitt students, in the 1A priority group.

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

Pitt officials said Wednesday that roughly half of students and employees have submitted documentation that they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

A campuswide email from Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office said 92% of students living in University housing have shown they are vaccinated, though vaccination numbers for those not living in University housing appeared “much lower.” The email added that 55% of faculty members and 56% of staff have submitted vaccination paperwork.

Pitt spokesperson Kevin Zwick said 54% of all graduate and undergraduate students have submitted documentation to the University.

“Based on our survey earlier this year and the information we’ve seen from UPMC, we believe more Pitt community members are vaccinated than have uploaded proof,” the CMRO email said. “Therefore, we are expecting to see an increase in all of these numbers before Fall term starts.”

Vaccines are central to Pitt’s plan to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on campus, with different health rules depending on vaccination status. The email added that mandatory weekly virus testing for the unvaccinated will begin the week of Aug. 30, with further details to be released in the coming days.

The COVID-19 Delta variant, which is the predominant strain of the virus currently in the United States, is nearly twice as contagious as previous variants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit which compiles health policy information, so-called “breakthrough” infections among people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are extremely rare. Based on state data analyzed by KFF, the breakthrough case rate is well below 1%, hospitalization rate ranged from effectively zero to 1% and the death rate was effectively zero.

Classes are set to begin in a week and a half on Aug. 27, and will take place primarily in person.

This article has been clarified to say that the 92% of students vaccinated only reflects those living in University housing. It has also been updated with Pitt comment.

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