PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Vaccine hesitant or a denier altogether — the state is doing what it can to encourage these people to get the COVID-19 shot. Therefore, several rural hospitals in our area are doing what they can to convince people to roll up their sleeves.

“I will use every source possible to encourage people to get vaccinations. It’s that important,” said President and CEO of Mon Valley Hospital Louis Panza Jr.

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Panza said the hospital is doing what it can to convince people that the vaccine is crucial to getting to herd immunity.

“We’re out as you noted with electronic billboards and partnered with Washington Health System and the chamber of commerce, we have our own ads, op-eds and of course social media,” said Panza.

The hospital is even distributing fliers to local doctors’ offices with step-by-step instructions on how to schedule an appointment. They are encouraging people to sign up since clinics like the one at the Carroll Township Social Hall in Monongahela are still going unfilled.

“From public perspective, we are having a public town hall and will be having that in the next week or two that we can have a series of physicians, pharmacists, nurses online to provide honest and transparent answers,” said Washington Health System CEO John Six.

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Washington Health System is even opening up its vaccine clinics to walk-ins to make them more flexible for everyone.

On Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf said everyone should turn to the people they trust the most; their family doctor. He also said he’s trying to get shots to doctors’ offices as quickly as he can.

“As of yesterday we were notified we will get 200 more vaccines that we can give to our patients,” said Primary Care Doctor for Mon Valley Hospital Dr. John Holets.

Dr. John Holets said several of his patients have come to him unsure about the vaccine so he hopes with more doses coming in they’ll be more inclined to get it.

“It’s not just by herd immunity but by people being immune and passing on that immunity so it doesn’t keep perpetuating,” said Dr. Holets. “It protects them, then their partner, their family, city and eventually the state.”

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Washington Health System is planning on opening its vaccine clinic at Washington Crown Center mall to walk-ins on April 29 and 30.