St. Luke’s Employees Booster Up; Eligible Public Starts Tuesday

People over 65, adults with certain underlying medical health conditions, and those who work in environments with increased risk of COVID-19 are eligible for booster shots.

DULUTH, Minn.- Pfizer booster shots have begun going into the arms of healthcare workers in the Northland, as eligible members of the public start getting those shots Tuesday.

“I think it’s really a great step, it’s gonna help with everything that’s coming this winter and it’s just gonna help keep our community that much safer,” said Kelly Zapp, St. Luke’s COVID Clinic Lead.

On Monday, hundreds of healthcare workers at St. Luke’s Hospital’s Duluth Vaccine Clinic on 9th Avenue and East First Street got their booster shots, on top of flu shots.

“Everybody’s been pretty excited to come in and get their booster shots,” Zapp said. “It is open for 6 months and above from the last dose. So currently we’ve had over 200 people today.”

President Joe Biden also rolled up his sleeve for a Pfizer covid-19 booster shot Monday. “Now, I know it doesn’t look like it, but I am over 65. I wish, way over. And that’s why I’m getting my booster shot today,” he said.

This comes after the CDC last week announced the groups eligible for a booster. Gov. Tim Walz announced boosters were available to the state last Friday, and on Monday the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced they were available to eligible populations there.

“People over 65, adults with certain underlying medical health conditions like diabetes and obesity, and those who have increased risk of COVID-19 because of where you work or where you live like healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, grocery store clerks,” said the President.

Pfizer is the only vaccine right now authorized for booster shots, and doctors recommend that you stick with the same brand, so those who have Moderna or Johnson and Johnson can’t get these yet.

St. Luke’s healthcare workers who got the shot Monday said it’s an added level of security for their jobs on the frontlines of the pandemic, with COVID-19 and the delta variant rising in St. Louis County at nearly 100 new cases reported Monday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

“I feel that vaccines work,” said Donna Colborn, an Instrument Processing Specialist in the Operating Room.

“I’m personally not around a lot of patients. I might just run into them in the halls in the elevator like that bit I can still affect them if I’m not vaccinated,” she said.

Eligible members of the public start getting booster shots Tuesday at St. Luke’s, with appointments available for next week. “Also being in that situation going out in public, I feel like it’s the right thing to do,” said Colborn.

While boosters are now available for some, health officials still strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t, to get their first and second dose of the COVID shot.

“We’re taking walk-ins still for those individuals that are coming in for their first and second dose,” Zapp said. “It’s just about keeping our community safe.”

Appointments for boosters at St. Luke’s must be made online, and the clinic is open Tuesdays until 4 p.m., Wednesdays until 4:30, and Thursdays until 7 p.m.

At Essentia Hospital, eligible groups who want a booster can start scheduling appointments this Wednesday.

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