A campaign to promote vaccination against Covid-19 has been launched with funding from Greater Pike Community Foundation’s Milford Covid Relief Fund. The campaign features a public sign-on letter, yard signs, window placards, graphics for social media, digital billboards, informational Zoom calls and other efforts to encourage Pike County residents to get vaccinated.
The sign-on letter, with more than 175 signers at press time, acknowledge that those signing have been vaccinated and addresses why vaccination is important. “Vaccination is the key to ending the Covid-19 pandemic and to avoid more shutdowns. It protects the person getting vaccinated as well as those around them,” said Dr. Doug Manion, an infectious disease specialist who is a member of Milford Borough’s Public Safety Committee and serves on the coordinating committee of the Milford Covid Relief Fund. “Unfortunately, the rate of vaccinations in Pike County is well below that of neighboring counties as well as Pennsylvania and the U.S. overall. We need to change that.”
Joseph Dooley, a Milford Borough Council member also serves on the coordinating committee of the Milford Covid Relief Fund and said, “Through this public campaign, we hope to answer questions people may have about vaccination and gain wider understanding as to why it is so important. When people know their neighbors and friends are getting vaccinated, it makes them more comfortable with doing the same.”
The three Pike County Commissioners — Matthew Osterberg, Ron Schmalzle and Steve Guccini — were the first to sign the letter, and have been joined by Pike County Sheriff Kerry Welsh, Milford Mayor Sean Strub and the entire Milford Borough Council, Milford Township Supervisor Penney Luhrs, Delaware Township Supervisor Jane Neufeld, Lackawaxen Township Supervisor Jeffrey Shook, Delaware Valley School Board president Jack Fisher and members Brian Carso and , and other elected officials. John Bell, the superintendent of the Delaware Valley School District and Michael Silsby, superintendent of the Wallenpaupack Area School District signed the letter, as did Kirk Mackey, board chair of the Pike County Public Library.
James Pedranti, president of the Greater Pike Community Foundation, Liz Forrest, head of the League of Women Voters of Pike County, Christa Caceres, president of the local chapter of the NAACP and many other civic leaders have also signed. Faith leaders signing include Rev. Van Bankston, the rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Rev. Kaleigh Tomich Corbett, from the Milford United Methodist Church, Rabbi Frank Tamburello and Rev. Will Nichols.
Business leaders signing include Sue Doty-Lloyd, the publisher of the Pike County Dispatch, John and Brad Kiesendahl, from the Woodloch resorts, Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau President Christopher Barrett, Cheryl Duquette, President of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Pine Forest Camp owner Mickey Black. A number of emergency response personnel signed, including Tim Knapp and Bernie Swartwood, from the Pike County Department of Public Safety, Jeff Christiansen from the Milford Fire Department, Milford Police Chief Matt McCormack and Kyle Wright from Delaware Valley Emergency Services.
Milford Mayor Sean Strub, who is helping organize the effort, said “It is heartening to see so many people from all over the county coming together in common purpose. Vaccination is about public health and shouldn’t be about politics.”
To add your name to the public letter, or to request a yard sign, please email ProtectPike@gmail.com. For a complete list of those who have signed the letter, please visit the Milford Covid Volunteer Task Force Facebook page.
Editor’s note: See related story “Pennsylvania sounds alarm on coronavirus vaccine hesitancy.”