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UPstander Opportunities: Be a Contact Tracer; Vaccine Trials

July 16, 2020 to August 31, 2020

You can be an UPstander by being a Contact Tracer. This is LIFE SUSTAINING WORK

Project UPstander activates community members to provide acknowledgement, understanding and support for neighbors facing challenges as a result of one-time and/or on-going hateful acts, natural disasters, violence or intolerance that threaten the integrity of the community.

While our natural inclination might be to say, “It’s o.k. if I don’t do something. Someone else will,” Jewish values can inspire us to be UPstanders:

Lo tuchal l’hitalem— You must not remain indifferent (Deuteronomy 22)

“It is a powerful dictum, a motto for everyday life. It could have been formulated for our middle class existence, when people talk of compassion fatigue, of undeserving refugees; when we create rational and reasonable explanations for our unwillingness to care about the discomfort in the world we see around us. Lo tuchal le’hitalem—you shall not remain indifferent—it is an in-your-face moral and ethical requirement, taking us further into our humanity, reminding us that however practical Judaism is, however much a religion of doing, the doing is based on our shared humanity, our striving to reach a fuller and richer knowledge of our Source.”
Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, Lev Chadash, Milan, Italy

So many of us understand that the medical pandemic we face can be mitigated by our actions: Washing our hands, wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance.  When that is not done and the virus spreads, we have an urgent need to trace all of our contacts.

Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and people who they came in contact with (contacts) and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 to isolate and their contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.

Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves

  • Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone they had close contact with during the time they may have been infectious
  • Notifying contacts of their potential exposure
  • Referring contacts for testing
  • Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period
  • All of this is done while following physical distancing

If you want to be an UPstander by serving as a volunteer CONTACT TRACER, email us be clicking here and we will connect you with the Allegheny County Health Department. 

Time is of the essence.  Life is on the line.

Volunteer for coronavirus vaccine trials

UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh are recruiting 750 volunteers for coronavirus vaccine trials, making Pittsburgh one of 87 locations around the country taking part in the global effort to stop the infectious disease.

The first trial that volunteers will be recruited for is a Phase 3 trial to test an RNA-based vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. On Tuesday, Moderna published the results of their Phase 1 trial among a small group of volunteers that showed just mild side effects and the development of antibodies that could fight off the virus that causes COVID-19. Because of the success of Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials, Moderna announced they are moving forward with Phase 3, to begin July 27.

Pitt and UPMC also are already preparing for a second clinical trial that will also require volunteers for an as-of-yet unidentified vaccine effort.

To volunteer for the trials, people need to be 18 or older and not immuno-compromised. Volunteers will be randomly assigned either the vaccine or a placebo — made up of saline — injection. The initial injection may be followed by a booster shot four weeks later. Neither the volunteer, their clinician, nor the researchers will know if a volunteer received the vaccine or placebo. The volunteers will be followed for one to two years with periodic blood tests to see if their immune systems are producing antibodies to fight the virus.

You can volunteer either by emailing the trial directors at [email protected], or calling 412-692-7382, or visiting their website at

Coming Events
Sep 9 – Dec 31
Fridays, 12 pm
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