Pregnant doctor among workers vaccinated at St. Luke’s in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. — Dr. Sara Lund’s COVID-19 vaccination Friday, was a milestone moment.

Lund, an infectious disease specialist at St. Luke’s in Duluth, likely is one of the first pregnant women in the Northland, if not the U.S., to receive the vaccine, with the hope of leading the way for others in her position.

A small team of St. Luke’s staff in Duluth celebrated its first step in a long journey toward herd immunity when about two dozen employees were to receive the vaccine Friday. A larger roll-out is to begin Monday, Dec. 21. The health system plans to vaccinate about 200 employees per day.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not yet recommended pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine, many medical associations have reported its safe for them to do so.

“With those recommendations from those major societies, I trust them and I feel confident it is safe,” Lund said. “No hesitation. I couldn’t wait.”

NPR reported on Monday, Dec. 11, reported that the vaccine tests excluded pregnant people, a common practice during clinical trials.

The American College of Gynecologists, the Maternal Fetal Medicine Society, and the American College of Immunization Practices all have recommended pregnant women receive the vaccine, especially if they’re at risk of contracting the virus.

“Based on its biology of the mRNA vaccine, there is no reason why it should be harmful,” Lund said.

Sherry Johnson, a nurse practitioner who administered the first vaccines at St. Luke’s, called the opportunity a “milestone” of her career.

“I have worked in the field of immunization for a lot of my career,” Johnson said. “I’m so excited. I can’t even put into words how wonderful it is.”

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