MONONGAHELA, Pa. (KDKA) — As coronavirus vaccines reach the arms of more health care workers across the country, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine is encouraging hospitals to take the next steps of their role in the supply chain.
“My message today to hospitals is to start to reach out and to work together with EMS providers and agencies, as well as other non-affiliated health care providers and work to get them vaccinated as soon as possible,” she said at a Wednesday press conference.
Levine says the Pennsylvania Department of Health is encouraged by the number of vaccines available, especially with the recent authorization of the Moderna vaccine for emergency use.
The state’s vaccination plan is taking off in the Mon Valley and already getting vaccines to local first responders.
A spokesperson for Monongahela Valley Hospital told KDKA that the hospital had adequate doses of the vaccine to give to employees and distributed vaccines to first responders in the community.
The Charleroi Fire Department is one of the agencies that received the vaccine from the hospital.
“It’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Chief Robert Whiten Jr.
Whiten said he got a call from Mon Valley Hospital telling him that doses were available. Nineteen firefighters within the department received the first of two coronavirus shots while 16 others are still waiting.
“You want to keep the guys safe, and we sanitize our fire station twice a week,” Whiten says of running the department over the past nine months. “It does get frustrating, but I’m hoping with the shot, maybe we’ll get back to some normalcy here.”