Pitt students join crowd of hundreds for covid vaccines in Oakland

Hundreds of people, including many University of Pittsburgh students, lined up Tuesday afternoon to receive their first dose of the covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination event in Oakland.

The vaccine clinic was hosted outside at the Oak Hill Apartments, where the line stretched several blocks.

Among the group waiting for the vaccine was Rileigh Dowling, a junior computational biology major. She said she was “tired, excited and relieved.”

She had been in line for about four hours waiting for the shot, as had many of her classmates.

“Obviously, it’s worth it,” she said.

Eric Graham, property manager of Oak Hill Apartments, said he helped organize the event. He said the clinic offered the Moderna vaccine, and people who were vaccinated there on Tuesday would be able to return to the same location for their second dose. Oak Hill coordinated the clinic with Spartan Pharmacy, according to Tribune-Review reporting partner WPXI.

“It’s a great opportunity to reach a lot of people,” Graham said. “We really are here for the community. We’re committed to getting the community well and back to work.”

Alice Mosconi had also been in line for at least four hours. The sophomore marketing major got a message in her sorority group chat alerting her to the vaccine clinic Tuesday morning. She immediately told a couple of friends and got in line.

“I just knew I really wanted the vaccine,” she said. “I’m excited and grateful.”

College students, she noted, haven’t been able to get the vaccine at most clinics in the area so far, which have been prioritizing health care workers or individuals 65 or older.

Chris Carlin, a sophomore political science major at Pitt, said he was excited to receive the vaccine despite some concerns. Both of his parents were already vaccinated and experienced side effects, including fevers.

“I’m a little nervous, but I’m optimistic,” he said. “I’m definitely excited to get it and have some peace of mind.”

Some people played music while they waited in line. Others brought chairs.

The clinic was vaccinating those in Phase 1A of Pennsylvania’s covid-19 vaccine distribution plan, which includes health care workers, people 65 or older and people ages 16 through 64 with certain conditions that put them at high risk of severe disease. Graham said. It’s unclear whether the all of the students in line had qualifying conditions.

Michael Vannice, a senior neuroscience major at Pitt, said he found out about the clinic through a group chat. He said he saw the word “vaccine” and the address. He immediately drove to the site.

Those who lived within the Oak Hill community got a note on their door, and most also received a personal phone call alerting them to the opportunity to get vaccinated, Graham said.

Signs with balloons were posted a few blocks away, telling people that the clinic would be taking place Tuesday.

Andrei Turcan, who works for Oak Hill Apartments and was assisting with the event, said at least several hundred people were vaccinated during the event, though he couldn’t provide a specific number. He estimated it could have been close to a thousand people.

For Kristy Sacco, a senior business major at Pitt, getting the vaccine offered hope after a rough year during the pandemic.

“I’m definitely excited, because everyone has been in this for over a year now,” she said. “It’s the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Julia Felton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Julia at 724-226-7724, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Local | Oakland | Pittsburgh | Top Stories

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