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Aspirus St. Luke's Vaccinates 21 Sailors During Stop in Duluth Harbor

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Federal Bering Crew Getting Vaccinated by St. Luke'sSt. Luke’s was honored to help sailors on the Federal Bering get their long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month.

The Federal Bering is from the Marshal Islands and its crewmembers hail from India where the vaccine isn’t widely available. They had been trying to get the vaccine at several stops along the Great Lakes, but hadn’t been successful until they got to Duluth and called St. Luke’s.

“We’ve all heard horror stories of a ship’s entire crew getting sick and when I talked to the crew, they were desperate to get the vaccine,” Captain Abraham Jose Valiaparambil explained. “Thank you so much for coming.”

St. Luke’s staff vaccinated all 21 crewmembers with the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine late last week. The effort was facilitated by Daniel’s Shipping, which is a port agent.

“These vaccines can be the difference between life and death sometimes. The families of these sailors are back home wondering how it’s going, and now they can feel much better that their loved ones got the vaccine,” Steve Sydow from Daniels Shipping said. “This is kind of a tide-raising event for this crew. They can feel that much more comfortable about life. My job is to take care of these fellows, and this is one of the best ways to do it.”

St. Luke’s was proud to play a role. “We’ve been working tirelessly to ensure that everyone is protected from COVID-19,” St. Luke’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Lead Kelly Zapp said. “So to be able to help these sailors, who were having such trouble getting the vaccine, was truly an honor.”

The Federal Bering picked up grain to haul to Italy.