By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
Alycia Stubbs rarely gets sick. She’s never had a flu shot. And she had no plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Her bottom line: “I didn’t want to put anything foreign in my body.”
As supervisor of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Central Recovery Center (CRC) and Walk-In Crisis Services, she knows that colleagues are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus—wearing masks, washing their hands or using hand sanitizer, physical distancing, and wiping down surfaces to keep the areas clean.
The persons visiting Walk-In Crisis Services are medically triaged in the lobby and if admitted to the CRC, are quarantined and subsequently tested for COVID. In fact, there was only one case of COVID-19 among the persons served there in 2020, and that person had moved on before the test results came back.
Alycia also felt guidance from Pittsburgh Mercy leadership and resources, such as the Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center (PMFHC) and the organization’s responsiveness to testing persons served, gave her a sense of security and protection.
“I just put all my trust in the existing precautions,” Alycia says.
Then two people close to her contracted COVID-19. In one situation, her boyfriend’s father got sick but his mother, who is a nurse at a local hospital and had received the vaccine, never got sick. Then a friend’s child contracted the virus, but the parent who was vaccinated never tested positive or became sick.
“Having that evidence in my close circle of who got COVID and who didn’t get it convinced me,” Alycia says. “That was the overarching reason I decided to get the vaccine. That was enough evidence for me that it clearly works. It wasn’t just a story.”
Alycia received her second Moderna vaccine last week. The only side effects she had were a sore arm and a headache, which developed on the second day. She joins the majority of her CRC colleagues, most of whom, if not all, have already been vaccinated. She says the benefits outweigh the risks and that any minor side effects are better than being ill with the virus and possibly ending up as a “long hauler.”
Alycia now encourages others to get vaccinated.
“Have an honest and serious conversation with yourself,” she says. “It’s a decision only you can make for yourself.”