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Pitt recommending but not requiring COVID-19 vaccine

PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh is encouraging students and staff to be vaccinated against covid-19, but the school won’t require vaccination, according to our news partners at TribLive.

In a Board of Trustees meeting Friday morning, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced the university will not mandate vaccines, also acknowledging having an unvaccinated population on campus “will complicate our responsibility to ensure the campus is safe and healthy for everyone.”

“The plans for the fall at Pitt are based on a simple fact,” Gallagher said. “We believe that the vaccines are safe, available and highly effective, and we strongly recommend and expect all of our community — students, faculty and staff — to be fully vaccinated before they come back on campus for the fall term. However, we realize that some will not or cannot get the vaccine, and our safety program must be able to accommodate the risks associated with having some of portion of our community that is not vaccinated.”

He continued to say the university would not “bar somebody from attending or working at Pitt based on their vaccine status.”

The virus still will be circulating when the fall semester begins, Gallagher said, noting recently-discovered variants — such as the delta variant, first identified in India — appear to be more contagious that the variants circulating during last academic year. However, Gallagher said increased vaccination should help keep the virus from circulating as easily as it did last year.

“The vaccination rates, while slowing down, continue to progress to levels that should greatly attenuate the size and scale of outbreaks in our communities,” Gallagher said.

To ensure the campus remains safe for everyone — including those who aren’t vaccinated — measures such as covid-19 testing, quarantining and personal protective equipment might be required next year. Vaccinated individuals, however, “will likely be exempted from many of those requirements,” Gallagher said.

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