A Pittsburgh-specific guide on how to sign-up for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment
The information around vaccination is changing rapidly. We will do our best to keep this information current. Please check the date above to see when this story was most recently updated. Have a tip to share? See an error in this story? Please let us know! Send an email to helloPittsburgh@VeryLocal.com.
“How do you get a vaccination appointment?” This is the question that everyone I know is asking or trying to help answer. From emails to tweets, everyone is trying to figure out where to look. I’ve been getting texts from friends in other states asking how to get a vaccine for a parent. I spent some time looking at the websites and reading some of the Facebook threads. Here are some resources that might help make this process a little less confusing.
How do you find an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Pittsburgh?
Before I get to the how – let’s start with who can get a vaccination right now. Vaccine appointments are only available for people who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine in Pennsylvania. There is a phased vaccination rollout plan for the state. You can see the Pennsylvania Department of Heath’s vaccination eligibility plans or use Pennsylvania’s online “Your Turn” questionnaire to see if you are eligible.
Short answer: 5 best websites to check for a vaccine appointment in Pittsburgh
If you look at the “Vaccine Provider Information” on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website – you will see a map with lots of dots. There are 166 vaccination sites within 15 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh.
I looked at a list of all of the vaccine sites within 15 miles of Pittsburgh – while there are over 150 locations to get a vaccine shot, there are really only a handful of websites you need to check to get an appointment.
Lots of these vaccine distribution locations use the same website for scheduling an appointment. (For example, there are 48 different Giant Eagle Pharmacy locations on this map. All of the scheduling for Giant Eagle is done on the same Giant Eagle website.)
If you are looking for a vaccine appointment, here are the best websites to start with (scroll down for more info on each of these options):
- Giant Eagle (49 locations)
- Rite Aid (29 locations)
- UMPC – UPMC Hospitals (11 hospitals)
- AHN – Allegheny Health Network Hospitals (6 hospitals)
- Sam’s Club (4 locations)
The information in this story is specific to the Pittsburgh area
The information on this page is specific to Pittsburgh and the immediate surrounding area. There are more vaccination sites available outside of this area. (Information for hospitals that are not part of UPMC or AHN are not included in this list. See the more tips section at the bottom for some other resources.)
I will do my best to keep this story updated. Please take a look at the date on the top of the page to see when this story was last updated.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health offers a website with a map of vaccine distribution locations in the state of Pennsylvania. To get a list of Pittsburgh area locations, I set the search radius to 15 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh.
Long answer: It is not you, this is confusing, and the information changes frequently
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and now the federal government (vaccinefinder.org) both have websites to help you find a COVID-19 vaccine. Each gives you a map with lots of little dots and then you have to look at each location to see how to sign up for an appointment.
There is not a centralized website that lets you see the availability at all of the sites. Each type of distribution site has a different website to check for availability and scheduling.
If you think back to the time before Hotels.com, you had to go to each hotel website to see the availability. You just wanted a room in Downtown Pittsburgh, but you had to check each hotel’s website separately. Then Hotels.com showed up and you could see all of the rooms in Downtown Pittsburgh. There is no Hotels.com for COVID-19 vaccine appointment, and you have to go to each vaccination distribution website to see what they have available.
COVID Vaccine vs. COVID Testing:
The websites for vaccine distribution are different from COVID-19 testing. Allegheny County has a website that lets you see all of the COVID-19 testing appointments on one website.
There are 166 vaccine distribution sites near Pittsburgh. Does that mean I have to check 166 different websites? No. The good news is that many of the vaccine distribution locations have centralized their scheduling. There are 49 Giant Eagle locations where the vaccine is being distributed near Pittsburgh. All of the scheduling for Giant Eagle is done through gianteagle.com/covidvaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine appointment availability varies
This is where things get tricky. There is such a demand for vaccine appointments that when slots become available, they fill up quickly. You will likely have to check back several times and/or sign up for an alert before you will be able to get an appointment.
Vaccination distribution locations, websites & tips
For all vaccination distribution sites:
- All are following the Pennsylvania Department of Health eligibility guidelines.
- The vaccination is free. You may be asked for your insurance information. You do not need to have health insurance to get the vaccine.
- You MUST have an appointment to get the vaccination. There are no walk-up vaccination locations.
AHN | ahn.org/coronavirus
- Pro tip: Sign up for alerts through AHN’s MyChart to learn about vaccination availability
One of the best ways to find out when AHN has appointments available at any of their locations (AHN hospitals and vaccination events at PNC Park) is to sign up for MyChart. AHN’s MyChart is their patient portal. Anyone can create a MyChart account. You DO NOT have to have an AHN doctor or Highmark insurance to use MyChart.
Giant Eagle | gianteagle.com/covidvaccine
- Good to know: Appointments for the Heinz Field Vaccination Clinic are scheduled through the Giant Eagle COVID-19 website
The Giant Eagle website will only show appointments when they have them available. Rumor has it that they release new appointments at 8 am and 8 pm.
If no appointments are available, you will see this screen telling you to check back later.
Rite Aid | ritea.id/pennsylvania
- Pro tip: Use the VaxxMax website to see which Rite Aid locations have open appointments before visiting the Rite Aid website.
The Rite Aid website makes you go through an eligibility form before you can see stores & scheduling.
VaxxMax.com is an independent website created by a software engineer to make it easier to see which Rite Aid locations have appointments available. Select PA under state and VaxxMax will show you a list of all of the stores that likely have availability.
The store finder tool is a little tricky. Check out this Rite Aid how-to from VaxxMax if you are having trouble.
UPMC | vaccine.upmc.com
- Good to know: If you don’t have access to a computer, call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week. Expect to wait before you can speak to someone.
Check your eligibility on the PA Department of Health website and then fill out the form at vaccine.upmc.com. UPMC will send you updates about vaccine availability.
Sam’s Club | samsclub.com/pharmacy/immunization?imzType=covid
Not all Sam’s Club locations are offering the vaccine yet. You need to sign-in to the Sam’s Club website as a member (or by creating a guest account) to access the scheduling.
How do I sign up to get the vaccine at PNC Park or Heinz Field?
The PNC Park Clinic is run by AHN. Use the AHN information to look for an appointment.
The Heinz Field Clinic is run by Giant Eagle. Use the Giant Eagle information to look for an appointment.
Allegheny County Point of Dispensing
- Pro tip: Sign up for Allegheny Alerts to be notified when new appointment slots are added. You can select to receive alerts by phone, text or email.
The Allegheny County Health Department has set up a Point of Dispensing (the county refers to these as PODs) in Monroeville & Castle Shannon.
Scheduling is a little tricky. The Allegheny County Health Department links to specific days when the POD is open. You have to check often as they add new days regularly. Every time I’ve checked each of the days, all of the appointment slots are full.
What about doctors’ offices and independent pharmacies?
Yes, there are lots of other places that are listed as vaccination sites. Each of these locations has a different process for signing up or getting on a waitlist.
- Independent Pharmacies: Some have online scheduling. Some have a waitlist.
- Doctors Offices: I’ve looked at many of the doctor’s office websites; most are not yet distributing to the public and have asked non-patients to stop calling.
Not yet offering vaccines in Pennsylvania
The following stores offer the vaccine in other states but have not started offering the vaccine in Pennsylvania.
Even more tips on how to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Pittsburgh
There is a local Facebook group dedicated to sharing information about vaccine appointments. Getting Pittsburgh Vaccinated – COVID-19 Appointment Tip Page is a Facebook group for the Pittsburgh area that has over 20,000 members. (This Facebook group was started at the end of January 2021). They have put together several detailed guides and the group has been posting daily updates about which vaccination locations have appointments.
The Getting Pittsburgh Vaccinated Facebook group has put together a document that lists vaccination distribution sites and info outside of Allegheny County and many independent pharmacies in the area.