By Chadwick Dolgos
Coraopolis councilmembers spent much of the April 14 meeting discussing what steps could be taken to assure the town’s older population is being vaccinated for COVID-19.
“We have a lot of senior citizens, and they don’t have their shots yet,” said council’s Daniel Larocco. “How can we get somebody down here to give these shots to these people?”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 estimates, Coraopolis’ population is approximately 5,425. Roughly 19.1% of the borough’s population is 65 years old and over, accounting for more than 1,030 residents.
The discussion touched on what some saw as a lack of communication about vaccination administration events reaching the older population.
“Maybe they had the event, but seniors weren’t notified,” Councilwoman Lucinda Wade speculated. “It just seems like a communication issue.”
Wade reached out to Amy Cavicchia, the executive director of Coraopolis Community Development Foundation (CCDC), who said she was unaware of any future vaccination events but will keep council posted if she does or if her group is able to coordinate another distribution day.
The CCDC had previously hosted a vaccination event partnering with Porter’s Pharmacy and Compounding Lab in Moon.
During the event, 72 of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines were administered. The event occurred prior to the “one and done” vaccine being put on pause by health officials.
Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon suggested reaching out to a pharmacy to set up an event, and Councilman Edward Pitassi recommended partnering with Rite Aid in Coraopolis for another vaccination event advertised to seniors in the area. “Rite Aid has been successful in getting this stuff going,” he said.
“I know, in the beginning, it was a little rough with Rite Aid, but they’re getting a lot better and coordinating with all the Rite Aids in the area.”
Pitassi also suggested calling State Sen. Wayne Fontana’s office because of how informative and helpful his website has been during the pandemic.
“I’m going to call our legislators, senators, and congressmen up,” Larocco said.
“They owe me a favor.”
Coraopolis’s first vaccination events, held on Jan. 25 and March 1, worked to vaccinate Coraopolis firefighters and police officers as well as police officers from six other municipalities.
“We were able to invite some elderly people that were eligible,” said McCutcheon.
Between these two events, nearly 80 people received both doses of the Moderna vaccine.