By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
From Day 1, there was no question that Peter Divito would get vaccinated against COVID-19. “I see it as the only way to get things back to normal,” he says. “It’s pretty straightforward and simple as far as I’m concerned.”
“Normal” isn’t how the supervisor of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Adult Diversion and Acute Stabilization/ Intensive Outpatient (DAS/IOP) programs has been living over the last year. Like so many others, he and his wife Shanel, formerly Pittsburgh Mercy’s director of Inclusion and Collaboration, have felt “stuck in the same thing day after day”—home to work, work to home. They haven’t been out to eat at a restaurant in over a year.
To satisfy his curiosity, Peter read a research study conducted on the Moderna vaccine, the only one administered by Pittsburgh Mercy to date. Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses with no evidence of being previously infected, according to a report from the CDC.
When Peter saw the efficacy, based on the study of groups provided with a vaccine or a placebo, “it kind of reinforced what I was going to do.” He experienced a sore arm after the first injection and was “wiped out” after the second shot. But he is now fully vaccinated. As soon as Shanel was eligible, she registered to be vaccinated. She got her second dose earlier this week.
“There was no hesitation on her part,” Peter says. “She would have been lining up the same day as me.”
Peter has not worried about his five indoor cats contracting COVID-19 because they have remained isolated with their human family. A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. The CDC says, based on the information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
Peter says he has been trying to convince others to get vaccinated, realizing that some were worried about the side effects, which generally are minimal. But he’s found that talking to others about the importance of vaccination when they don’t believe the science can be futile.
The rewards of being vaccinated are on the horizon for the Divito family. Peter’s mother and sister, both of whom live in Boston, are fully vaccinated, too. That means that now he can travel soon to see them—and meet his 7-month-old nephew for the first time.