By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
Sometimes, old adages are true. Take, for instance, “what comes around, goes around.” That certainly came true for the Sisters of Mercy in Pittsburgh recently. Because the Sisters are known for their outreach and service to others, Pittsburgh Mercy appreciated being able to carry on their tradition recently by reaching out and offering to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for the Sisters.
Previously, Pittsburgh Mercy provided COVID-19 vaccines to those Sisters of Mercy who reside in the Motherhouse in Oakland, on the Carlow University campus.
When Pittsburgh Mercy President and CEO Tony Beltran reached out this month to offer to vaccinate the 25 Sisters of Mercy who live out in the community, they were more than happy to take him up on the offer. Pittsburgh Mercy also took the lead on vaccinating the Sisters of Divine Providence and the Benedictine Sisters in Pittsburgh. Because most of the Sisters live in congregational settings, being able to get the vaccine was an important step in keeping the religious communities healthy.
“I was delighted when Tony Beltran offered that the Sisters could get it,” says Sister Bonnie Heh, RSM, who like others found that it was impossible to find out online where to get a vaccination. “I grew up with getting the polio vaccine. I didn’t have any concern about getting (the Moderna vaccine). I was waiting for it.” Sister Bonnie works at The Intersection in McKeesport, which serves individuals who are economically poor, disadvantaged, and in need. She wanted to protect herself and others by being immunized.
Sister Georgine Scarpino, RSM, who has underlying medical conditions, says getting the vaccine “sounded like the right thing to do.” She says she has protected herself with vaccines, including flu shots, and that the COVID vaccine is “just one more.” She had no fear of the vaccine. “You think of all the people who have already received the vaccine and nothing happened.”
Sister Susan Welsh, RSM, former president and CEO of Pittsburgh Mercy, was among the Sisters to receive the vaccine. She was grateful that the Sisters who live independently were also given the opportunity that those residing in the Motherhouse received. She had no worries about any side effects.
“Any adverse reactions to the injection are certainly outweighed by the fact you aren’t going to die,” Sister Susan says. “I never had any second thoughts about getting it. The pros outweigh the cons.”
Sr. Bonnie Heh, left; and Sr. Georgine Scarpino, right, with Danialle Hawks, RN, a child outpatient nurse in Pittsburgh Mercy Child & Adolescent Services at Reedsdale Center. Danialle is one of the many nurses who are staffing the observation room in our Vaccination Clinics.