By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
As with so many other Americans, Jonathan Berry wasn’t quite sure what to do when he had the chance to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through Pittsburgh Mercy. “I figured throughout this quarantine and pandemic, we’ve been coming to work,” Jonathan says. “I wondered, ‘Why take it now when I’ve maybe had the chance to build up some immunity?’”
As the interim director of Pittsburgh Mercy’s Penn Avenue Place Clubhouse, the membership-driven day program for adults, age 18 and older who are living with a mental illness, Jonathan had contact with persons served coming in off the street over the past 10 months.
He admits that he had hesitancies about the vaccine.
“It seemed like they came out with the vaccine relatively fast,” he says.
But he had other considerations—a wife with a heart condition, a 3-year-old daughter, and the fact that he, himself, is a diabetic. He realized that he could be on the unfortunate end of COVID-19, so he thought about the bigger picture.
“Why risk taking this home to my family, based on the fact I’ve been lucky so far?” he says. “Why not err on the side to keep everyone safe.”
Jonathan based his final decision in part on the information contained in the COVID-19 email updates sent by Tony Beltran, Pittsburgh Mercy president and CEO.
Although the injection site was a little sore, the vaccination had a benefit beyond COVID-19 itself. Jonathan felt better after getting it, perhaps because his stress eased.
“I actually felt kind of renewed,” he says.
Jonathan views himself as a trailblazer of sorts, taking the chance on a new vaccine and using his experience as a path to help others make the decision to get vaccinated and stop the spread of the coronavirus. While he hopes the vaccine might help his immunity, he’s still planning to keep wearing a mask.
Jonathan Berry, interim director, Penn Avenue Place Clubhouse