The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that is has administered over 55,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in its first two weeks of providing vaccine distribution.
The vaccine was given to more than 5,000 Veterans residing in VA Community Living Centers and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Centers, and more than 50,000 VA health care employees received the vaccine between December 14 and December 27.
The VA began giving the vaccine to both veterans and frontline healthcare workers at 37 VA medical centers per the agency’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan. The initial locations were selected based on several factors, including having the capacity to store the vaccine at extremely cold temperatures and the ability to offer high-throughput vaccination.
Last week, the VA announced it began COVID-19 vaccinations at 128 additional sites using the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Both vaccines require two doses for maximum efficacy.
“I couldn’t be happier with the work VA employees are doing in taking this important first step toward the end of the pandemic,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Successfully implementing a plan like this in the nation’s largest health care system takes planning, collaboration and teamwork. As vaccines become more widely available, we will continue to implement our plan to offer them to any Veteran or employee who wants one at no cost.”
The VA said that it will continue to vaccinate health care personnel and residents at community living center and spinal cord units per Centers for Disease Control guidelines, however, the agency has a goal to offer the vaccine to all veterans and employees who want to get it.
The agency said that VA care teams will reach out to eligible Veterans to schedule vaccinations as supplies increase. There is no need to preregister or come to a facility to sign up.