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DKH Oncology Nurse Becomes 1,000th Employee to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

February 8, 2021

Day Kimball Healthcare has vaccinated more than 1,000 employees in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Michelle Donahue, hematology/oncology manager in the Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center, became the 1,000th employee to receive the vaccine. She said she did so for her patients, her colleagues, and her family.

Michelle, who is pregnant with twins, was faced with the decision of whether getting vaccinated was right for her and her unborn children.

“Initially I was hesitant about receiving the vaccine because there have not been long-term studies for the children of those vaccinated while pregnant,” said Michelle. “However, I consulted with my DKH OB/GYN and maternal-fetal medicine physicians who helped me to weigh the risks of what I would endure if I contracted the virus with the benefits of getting the vaccine. Together we decided that the known risks of COVID-19 to babies were more significant than the small, but unknown risks associated with the vaccine.”

As an oncology nurse, Michelle has extensive knowledge of the immune system and has been working with emerging immune therapies for several years. This helped her to feel more comfortable with her decision to be vaccinated.

“Although it’s easy to fear the unknown, I reminded myself that a piece of messenger RNA was only enabling my immune cells to proactively formulate the defenses they would need if I contracted COVID-19. The enzymes in our bodies destroy the mRNA. Therefore, it’s not capable of entering my cell nucleus or my babies’ and will not change our DNA,” she said.

Michelle was 20 weeks into her pregnancy when she received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at Day Kimball. The only side effect she noticed after getting the vaccine was soreness at the injection site. She said if you’re pregnant and considering getting the vaccine, it’s important to talk to your doctor and make the decision with them.

Michelle is scheduled to receive her second dose of the vaccine on February 15, 2021, about 14 weeks before she’s scheduled to give birth to her twins. “The vaccine gives me hope that my twins will be able to meet their extended family, and that my twins and my 2 year old son will eventually get to experience the camaraderie of regular interaction with friends and family,” she added.

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