By SUSAN JONES
Of the 22 staff members that Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in late January were non-compliant with Pitt’s vaccine mandate, 13 have come into compliance and Pitt is in the process of terminating the remaining nine, a University spokesman said on Feb. 10.
One of the four faculty who had not uploaded proof of being vaccinated or sought an exemption is now in compliance with the rules. The other three “continue to move through the disciplinary process,” the spokesman said.
In November, the University said all faculty, staff and students needed to either provide proof of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination or an approved exemption by Dec. 6. Pitt has been working with members of the University community to get them in compliance.
In early January, Pitt officials said that the University had begun disenrolling students who had not complied with the mandate. By late January, there were 32 noncompliant students, according to Gallagher.
Overall, the COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO) says 96 percent of the Pitt community has received the original vaccinations. Now the push is on for faculty, staff and students to upload proof of receiving booster shots.
“The efficacy of boosters and vaccines is unquestionable,” said the Feb. 3 update from the CMRO. “Recent CDC data on outcomes showed that from October to November 2021, for every 100,000 people, there were 0.1 COVID-19 deaths among boosted individuals and 0.6 deaths among vaccinated but un-boosted individuals, compared with 7.8 deaths per 100,000 for unvaccinated individuals.”
While uploading proof of booster shots is not required yet, the chancellor said in an interview with the University Times that it’s something the administration is looking into.
It’s become “increasingly clear that boosters are part of being fully immunized … from a medical standpoint and from a federal and state guidance perspective,” Gallagher said. “While nothing’s changed yet, my anticipation would be we’re going to need to share that information.”
A Pitt spokesman said as of Feb. 9, approximately 1,300 employees and 1,500 students across all campuses have uploaded booster data. Instructions on how to update your vaccination status can be found on the coronavirus.pitt.edu website.
The Pitt CoVax Vaccination Center at Nordenberg Hall is open five days a week. Plenty of appointments are available for first and second doses, boosters, and flu shots. You can also stop by the center with medical questions.
While some states and schools are considering dropping mask mandates, Pitt continues to require tight-fitting masks (over the nose, mouth and chin) inside all University spaces. N95 masks are available for those who want them at the concierge entrances to University buildings.
The number of cases continues to decline on Pitt’s campuses, according to the CMRO. Between Feb. 2 and 8, there were 122 new student cases on the Oakland campus and 26 at the regionals, compared to 241 in Oakland and 57 at the regionals between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1. Among faculty and staff on all campuses, there were 33 cases reported in the latest report, compared to 55 in the previous report.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-244-4042.
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