McKeesport-area EMS personnel honored for flu prevention efforts
From mid-September through Jan. 21, more than 6,000 influenza vaccines were administered to people in communities throughout the Mon Valley Region through the Mon River Fleet.
Those vaccines were given by 13 local emergency medical service providers who were recognized for their efforts at the annual Mon River Fleet EMS Awards Luncheon.
Representatives from Baldwin EMS, Clairton Volunteer Fire Department-EMS, Eastern Area Prehospital, Elizabeth Township Area EMS, Jefferson Hills Area Ambulance Association, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service, Munhall Area Prehospital, Fire Department of North Versailles EMS, Penn Hills EMS, Priority One EMS, Tri-Community South EMS, White Oak EMS and Woodland Hills EMS Rescue gathered at Youghiogheny Country Club.
They received awards and certificates for their work in administering the flu shots. A certificate of recognition from Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport, was read.
“Your partnership and commitment to the residents with the influenza vaccine program has made a tremendous impact on the community,” Cynthia M. Dorundo, president of UPMC McKeesport, said. “This is one of the most effective immunization programs in the state so you have a lot to be proud of when you go back to your communities.”
When the program started in 2003, 900 vaccines were given. That number continues to grow to this year's record of 6,351.
Jim Spindler, co-facilitator of the McKeesport Healthier Communities PartnerSHIP, said the statistics are important but “they represent people and lives in our communities. Thank you not just for what you do with the influenza vaccine program, but what you do all year in saving lives.”
“It has been such an honor to be part of this program,” McKeesport Hospital Foundation executive director Michele Matuch said. “I have had the pleasure of working with the people in the state Department of Health because none of this would be possible without them.”
She also praised the hospital's pharmacy department. “They are just wonderful. Bill (Niccolai, pharmacy director) was so confident from Day One that we could do this initiative.”
“I thank God above for giving me the opportunity to do what I do and I love it and I love all of you,” Matuch said.
Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.