Allegheny Health Network working to get underserved, minorities vaccinated against COVID-19

PITTSBURGH — The COVID-19 numbers across Western Pennsylvania have been steadily ratcheting up, as the highly contagious delta variant settles into communities.  But now COVID-19 has one major target, the unvaccinated.

Allegheny Health Network is reaching out to underserved communities, minority groups, marginalized individuals, and low-income families.

“Trust the science, get the vaccine. That is making a difference, so we can all get back to normalcy,” said AHN’s senior VP of the Diversion, Equity and Inclusion Institute, Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew.

Statistics show those groups are the most likely to die from the virus, but they also are among the groups where hesitancy to get vaccinated is the highest. AHN has been using data and analytics to pinpoint where the vaccination rates are the lowest.

“We really have targeted specific areas right now that we’re working with to try to make sure we get those folks vaccinated,” said Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew.  “Some of those are in McKees Rocks, McKeesport, Natrona Heights, some of the places where there’s so many not only elderly, but young individuals who are not being vaccinated.”

But experts say it is an uphill climb to overcome misinformation in the community. Last month, it was hard to convince anyone to get a free vaccine from AHN’s mobile unit.

But Dr. Margaret Larkins Pettigrew and others are continuing to push forward with videos that have been distributed to local churches and community centers.

She says COVID-19 does not have to be a death sentence, as long as people get vaccinated.

“This is really important for all of us to do our part.  We’re going to make sure we do our part.  We’re going to give you the information, the transportation.  We’re going to be here to make sure that happens for you,” said Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew.

Visit Allegheny Health Network to learn more about places to get the COVID-19 vaccine in your area.