By Katyanee Svastikula, Counselor, Homer Community Living Arrangement (CLA)
First of all, I would like to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to Pittsburgh Mercy for providing me with COVID-19 vaccinations to protect me and people surrounding me from this devastating disease. As of February 2021, COVID-19 vaccines became more available to people in the United States of America, including Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. More and more people have been vaccinated between then and now.
Our president and CEO of Pittsburgh Mercy, Antonio G. Beltran, has been sending us a series of emails with COVID-19 situation updates throughout the pandemic period. I have been talking all along with people I know to encourage them to get vaccinated when the vaccines become available to them.
However, on March 30, March 31, and April 1, 2021, our CEO sent out emails with COVID-19 situation updates that advised us, as employees, to inform people we know who are qualified to get vaccinated. And, also to let them know that Pittsburgh Mercy, among other providers, administers COVID-19 vaccinations to qualified people in the communities— beyond employees at this point in time.
I immediately put myself into action and informed several people in the communities about the vaccinations and availabilities. However, there were a couple situations where someone did not want to be vaccinated for one reason or another.
One particular situation that came into my mind, was a senior person in 1A category in my neighborhood who did not want to be vaccinated over the concerns of side effects and distance to travel to the vaccination site(s). I explained to her about solutions to her concerns.
As the time passed by, I finally called the person up as a follow-up phone call. The person said to me that she just got vaccinated for COVID-19. She seemed to be very impressed about how well the process went—from arrival until being vaccinated, the 15-minutes observation before exiting, and the professional courtesy extended to her were so well received by her.
Another situation was that the person simply refused to be vaccinated by stating that he already got sick from COVID-19, recovered, and has immunity to fight the disease. I acknowledged and respected his opinion and decision, but gave him a copy of the “5 Reasons to get a COVID- 19 Vaccination” flyer (from our CEO). He said he would read it.
Again, thank you so very much for all you do.