Pitt Vaccination and Health Hub offers new vaccinations, employee health services


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pitt’s CoVax Vaccination Center located at the bottom of Nordenberg Hall.

By Madison Dean, Senior Staff Writer

Previously known as the Pitt CoVax Vaccination Center, a vaccination clinic at the base of Nordenberg Hall has provided mass COVID-19 vaccines to students and staff since January 2021. Now the center is called the Pitt Vaccination and Health Connection Hub and is expanding its vaccinations and services to Pitt faculty and the surrounding community. 

Melissa McGivney, professor of pharmacy and therapeutics and executive director of the Hub, said the expansion will better serve the community by providing vaccinations that are not easily accessible. 

“We started learning of the different needs that the population we care for has, and when we think about the populations of individuals we care for, it’s our students, it’s our employees and it’s our neighbors,” McGivney said. 

The Hub will offer new adult vaccinations such as pneumococcal, tetanus and shingles vaccines starting the week of March 20. The Hub will also continue to provide COVID-19 and flu shots to students. 

Dr. Elizabeth Wettick, medical director and interim director of Student Health Services and laboratory director for the Hub, said the expansion will supply vaccines for common diseases that affect the Pitt community. She also shared that the Hub is working on a plan for travel vaccinations. 

“Increasing access for students to be able to get vaccines easily will enhance the vaccine coverage for our campus,” Wettick said. “This is particularly relevant for respiratory diseases like the Flu and Covid.” 

Along with these vaccinations, the Hub now has biometric screenings available on campus for Pitt employees. Faculty and staff covered by the UPMC Health Plan through the University can access services that measure blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and more. 

“All that information will be provided to the employee and it will also be provided to the doctor of their choice, and that will qualify them for health incentive dollars associated with their health benefit,” McGivney said. 

Employees can earn up to $80 a year in incentive dollars by participating in biometric screenings, according to the services page on the Hub’s website. Wettick said the goal of biometric screenings is to help employees stay on top of their health by targeting illnesses through early intervention. 

“Increasing access for employees to get biometric screenings will enable them to ensure that they are aware of any health risks and hopefully be able to address health concerns at an earlier phase to attain maximum wellness,” Wettick said. 

Kate Brownlee, CMRO project manager and director of Hub operations, said the Hub is trying a “variety of methods” to spread awareness of the new services across campus and the community. 

“We have been sending students and staff into Pitt buildings and handing out flyers, and we have a banner that talks about our services,” Brownlee said. “We are talking to various groups within Pitt who can share the word through their department.” 

According to McGivney, the biggest benefit of the Hub is its easy access to the Pitt community. Whether individuals choose to walk in for a vaccination or schedule an appointment in advance, McGivney said the Hub will always be a place “where people can step in and ask for help.” 

“What we’re doing is continuing to meet the gaps where, the spaces where our population is saying, ‘We want a service,’” McGivney said. “And if we can provide it, we’re going to do it. And if we can’t, we’re going to make sure to connect people to the plethora of services that are around us.” 

McGivney shared that the Hub continues to provide volunteer opportunities for students within the health sciences and those interested in the field. 

“We’re also open if there’s individuals, pre-health students, that are interested or students who are interested in health sciences. We encourage them to stop in and have a conversation,” McGivney said.