Initial limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine available for health care personnel

Veterans receiving VA health care will be contacted when a vaccine is available.


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The first COVID-19 vaccines will arrive at 37 VA facilities in the coming days and vaccinations will begin after VA receives a supply of the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer received an Emergency Use Authorization.

Following this authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made recommendations for use of the authorized vaccine.

The vaccine has proven to be safe and highly effective in clinical trials. There are side effects similar to those after other vaccines but they are short-lived. This COVID-19 vaccine marks a crucial step in getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

Offering the vaccine first to health care personnel

The initial supply of the vaccine is limited. Working with the CDC and other federal partners, VA developed a phased plan to benefit the most people.

Under this phased plan, VA will begin vaccinating health care personnel – as they are essential in continuing to care for patients throughout the pandemic. At the same time, VA will vaccinate Veteran inpatients in Community Living Centers and Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder Centers.

VA will vaccinate additional Veterans receiving care from VA at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 after health care personnel have been offered the vaccine.

VA’s ultimate goal is to offer the vaccine to all Veterans receiving care at VA as well as employees who want to be vaccinated.

Contacting Veterans for vaccine appointments

Initial COVID-19 vaccine supplies are limited and first being offered to health care personnel. As the supply increases, care teams will contact Veterans receiving care at VA about their options.

It’s important to understand that many Veterans will not be able to get the vaccine during this initial rollout when supply is limited. To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, Veterans should not come into a VA facility seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.

Care teams will contact Veterans directly when a vaccine is available, based on each Veteran’s risk factors.

However, Veterans can sign up to get updated information through our Keep Me Informed tool.

VA is committed to making sure Veterans can receive a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible, both in our VA facilities as well as through our community provider networks once available. VA will make sure to provide additional information as vaccine availability increases.

Receiving the vaccine

The Pfizer vaccine will be administered in 2 doses. The second dose will be given 21 days after the first dose. To stay safe and continue to protect yourself and others, even those who receive a vaccine should follow the 3 W’s:

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Watch your distance – stay 6 feet apart.

VA looks forward to offering the vaccine and asks all Veterans and VA health care personnel for their patience during this initial rollout.

Important Resources

 

*This blog was edited on 12/21/20 to reflect updates to vaccination info and community provider networks. 


Jane Kim, MD, MPH, is the chief consultant for Preventive Medicine at the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Patient Care Services.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Florencio Flores    

    Do we have an option as to taking Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?

  2. mark hodder    

    I have just read all the comments left on this web page. UNREAL!!!!!!! Can you people NOT put yourselves in the shoes of VA administrators and health care professionals? If it were not for the VA I would be typing this from the grave. I know everyone is on edge with this virus but crucifying the VA DOES NOT HELP !!!!!!!!!!!! Give these empathetic and professional people a break. I personally want to express my most sincere gratitude and admiration to the health care staff at the VA hospital in Saginaw, Mi. They show up for work and willingly expose themselves daily while others complain about the drive through service being closed. Thank you VA for saving countless lives, mine included.

  3. Joan Olive Friedrich    

    I am 87 yrs old, please notify me by phone, thank you, Joan O. Friedrich.
    Thank you again…I go to Lecanto VA…

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      We recommend you sign up to stay informed about VHA’s COVID plans here or talk to your provider: https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

  4. JAMES MERRICK    

    I have had prostate cancer and a heart valve replaced when can i get an appointment?

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      If you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. https://www.va.gov/health-care/secure-messaging/ If you don’t receive care at VA, contact your primary health care provider. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html

  5. CO Johnson    

    George, and all other Veterans that go outside the VA for healthcare, please know that YOU are responsible for obtaining your records from your non-VA doctors and asking them to send to your VA primary care and/or specialists. My husband is 82 year old and frequently utilizes VACC. I always ask for copies of his records and also ask that records be sent to his VA primary care. We have found the hard way that the authorizations that are to be sent from the VACC seldom make it so we carry a copy or I have to spend countless hours getting Medicare reimbursed.

    Also, we have called upon Veteran Service Officer (VSO) many times to assist us for military records, advocacy etc. Each state has many VSOs and you are not restricted to use the one in your area or state.

    According to the CDC age 65 and certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

    When we spoke to our VA clinic closest to our home yesterday they had not yet laid out a plan for the vaccine so we will depend on our primary care provider outside of the VA. As some have posted, a Secured Message to your VA provider may be helpful.

    Each state was required to submit a plan to the CDC. Here is a list of the states:
    https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/covid19-vaccination-guidance.html

    Merry Christmas to everyone and please remember that even after the vaccine we will still need to be mindful of the social distancing, mask requirements, hand washing, etc.

    Take care and God bless YOU, YOUR FAMILIES and the USA!

  6. Theodore James Shulsen    

    What about those veterans who are not within the 37 VA Centers or live hundreds of miles from a VA Center. Please release an all encompassing vaccination plan.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Additional facilities, including Outpatient Clinics and CBOCs, will receive vaccine as supplies increase over the next few months. You can view a full list of the initial VA locations providing COVID vaccinations here: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/COVID_19_Vaccinations.asp. We also recommend you sign up to stay informed about VHA’s COVID plans or talk to your provider: https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

  7. Stephen E Gauster    

    They are sending out plenty of info, but not telling us much it looks like to me.
    With heart disease, COPD, 1 adrenal gland removed, 100%PTSD, deep depression, coronary artery disease, peripheral neuropathy that will make you cry, living alone at 71 with no help to name a few, I haven,t heard a word either. Also, some of mine had to be done outside because VA overlooked some.
    Can anyone help????

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Stephen, if you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. https://www.va.gov/health-care/secure-messaging/. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html

  8. Herbert F Munz    

    Hi Guys; I’m 82, a veteran, and have Diabetes. I have a service connected disability. What are my chances and when and where can I get the the vaccine in SE Penn. Spring City or Coatesville, Pa.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      If you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. https://www.va.gov/health-care/secure-messaging/. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html. You can view a full list of the initial VA locations providing COVID vaccinations here: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/COVID_19_Vaccinations.asp

  9. Larry Wood    

    I registered to receive notification for availability of COVID-19 vaccine. But nowhere in it does it ask if I am at risk. I contacted my VA physician about my at risk status and only received a reply that the VA would be sending out a letter. In other words there is no way for me to know if I will be considered as an “at risk” candidate. Letters usually come out fairly quickly but waiting a week or more for a letter doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  10. Elaine Clayton    

    I am an RN of 20 years with a graduate degree in Healthcare Innovation. For the last eight months I have been helping take care of my daughter-in-laws father subsequent to his wife passing unexpectedly in May 2020. He has end-stage COPD, is on oxygen 24/7 which he receives via trach. I have been thrown into the VA healthcare abyss frequently as I struggle to get the care he needs and benefits he is entitled to. I am concerned, frustrated and appalled at the lack of communication, poor communication and overall irresponsible care he is receiving. The left hand has no clue what the right hand is doing at the Phoenxi VA.

    Today this vet went of the house for the first time in eight months for an eye exam with a community provider. We asked the VA weeks and weeks ago to make sure they forwarded his records prior to the exam. We arrived for the exam to discover nothing had been sent. The VA also failed to send the necessary documentation to the provider. I had to return to the vets house to get the appointment confirmation sent by the VA. The community provider expressed dismay with the VA stating this scenario played out frequently.

    The second stop we made was the VA so this incredibly high risk vet could get a flu shot using the VA’s drive through service. The drive through flu shot was closed down two days ago!! Now, all high risk vets are expected to go inside the VA hospital to get their flu shot. The high risk vets at home are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine and now the VA wants them to come inside? Unbelievable!! There is no logic in this at all.

    I went inside to ask the optical dispending department with the vets old glasses in hand to see if they could just replace the lenses. It closed unexpectedly and no one was sure when they would reopen.

    I absolutely am going to try and bring attention to the inept care and or lack of care the VA is providing. It is inexcusable. They are putting vets at a higher risk of contracting COVID versus making decisions that protect them.

    Elaine Clayton for Robert Whatley

  11. Anthony Brunetti    

    just getting the updated information. The web site was a bit chard to work through at first, must do sa better job at making it simple for those that are mot familiar with computers. I am but still found it a bit cumberson to navagate..

  12. Ira M Click    

    I ‘m a 100% DAV. I’m Type 2 diabetic with neuropathy of the feet, hypertension and kidney problems. I take 100mg of Lyrica 4 times per day, Bydureon once per week, 20mg Lisinopril once per day, 4mg Glimepiride twice per day, 50mg Januvia once per day, 80mg Pravastatin once per day, 180 Fexofenadine once per day, 10mg Certirizine once per day, 10 mg Lokelma once per day, 100 mg Colace twice per day, 2- 81mg aspirin once per day and other vitamins. I also have a semi ocluded vein of the right eye and am getting a shot in it every 4-6 weeks. I see a VA Doctor once a year an a civilian doctor every 4 months. I had a Transcient ischemic attack (TIA) a week and a half ago. I tried to get on My Health Vet to find out when I could expect to get the vaccine and had trouble getting on line.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      If you need help with My HealtheVet please call the National MHV Help Desk 1-877-327-0022 or visit http://www.myhealth.va.gov and select “Contact” in the upper right corner to submit feedback online.

  13. Markus Tracy    

    As an artist and veteran, I would love to share my story with other veterans concerning the art work I do throughout the country.

  14. Melvin Kellebrew    

    If a person has had the virus, how does that affect the vaccination.

  15. Everett Layne Hixson    

    I am COPD, Diabetic. 90 years old. May I make appointment for the Vaccine?

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      If you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. https://www.va.gov/health-care/secure-messaging/. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html.

  16. James Johnson    

    I have my shirt sleeve rolled up, waiting.

  17. Ira Tatum    

    Thank your info, I am a Veteran. WAITING!

  18. robert    

    Is this the vaccine that has headach’s as a side efect

  19. Joseph Magaletti    

    I have had pertussis in 2014. I have chronic asthma with an intense cough. I use my inhaler daily and usually running out early each month. How do I get the COVID vaccine ASAP. I was also a healthcare worker for 47 years in radiology until I retired last year. My Dad and brothers were in the Navy.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Joseph, if you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. If you don’t receive care at VA, contact your primary health care provider. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html.

  20. Jon Cech    

    Your health records for medical treatment outside of the VA healthcare system are not automatically released to the VA for inclusion into your VA medical record. You must request outside treatment records from private hospitals or providers sent to the VA through a Release of Information request initiated by you or your designated power of attorney. Again the VA will not have access to your medical records unless you authorize release of healthcare records to the VA.

    J. Cech
    Veteran USN, USNR

  21. Dick Kump    

    Thank you VA Phoenix, Dr Dunn and Team #9 for your care and continued Support!
    You take excellent care of me.
    Thank you
    Dick K

  22. Harry W Boltz    

    I was receiving health care for several years when I was working in Fall River and received the care in an outpatient facility in New Bedford. The doctor was amazing and was much loved by all, he later transferred to Austin, TX. I retired from from working and moved to North Attleboro, MA and no longer went back to New Bedford. Recently I applied for and received hearing aids from the Providence office. I am so thrilled to be able to hear again.

    Having said all of that, my question is, will I be picked from the VA folks who are currently visiting the Providence VA, If I would not be able to be in the group when the vaccine is available I would gladly apply to get my health care through the Providence VA. Currently I am 84 years old, a type 2 diabetic and a type A blood type. These three issues put me in a relatively high risk classification.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much.
    Harry Boltz

  23. Michael Allen    

    So. When the vaccine becomes available to veterans what about the veterans’ spouses that are not veterans? The veterans get the shot and lives and the spouse does not and dies? Is that the way this works?

  24. August James    

    Completely agreed with the roll out plans for the COVID19 vaccine.
    Two fold question. Should someone be hospitalized with COVID19 infection, will the vaccine be administered which will assist in their recovery?
    My understanding is the vaccination is only good in prevention for six months. After six months; will another round of vaccination be required or is the projection this pandemic has run its course like the Spanish flu on 1918?
    Best regards,
    August James

  25. MacWain Phillips    

    I’m 75 with a 15 year old son and 18 year old daughter, and still need to be the breadwinner and support for them. I am overweight with some signs of heart problems, but minor. Seems like it would really help my family to get vaccinated.
    Is there any considerations for us who are still raising a family?

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      If you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. https://www.va.gov/health-care/secure-messaging/. Additionally, to learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html

  26. Gerald A Gama    

    I will be happy to take the Covid 19 Vaccine if any of the front line workers want to refuse it. I do have diabetes so consider me willing and able

  27. David Covington    

    I hope to receive the Covid 19 vaccine with other disabled veterans after front line health care workers receive it. I am a diabetic on insulin, 75 years old, high blood pressure, nueropathy in my arms and legs, PTSD, and other concerns. My blood type is A+ and I saw on the news that individuals with my blood type are more likely to be the sickest if I contract Covid.

    Thanks for considering me for early vaccine.

    [Editor: NEVER publish your personal information on the internet, including your SSN! It has been edited from this comment.]

  28. Robert Vincent    

    I tried to sign in but never got the security code thru text or phone call

  29. Susanne Marie Colvin    

    If you had an allergic reaction to the pneumonia vacanine would it be safe to take the Covid-19 vaccination?

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority as federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available. We’ll closely monitor everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine for reactions, side effects, or adverse events. You should definitely talk to your VA health care provider. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety.html

  30. Andrew l Maddox    

    The last month I was in the hospital for Corbin 19 there fore I am available and willing to take the vaccine,I do feel like I am high risk personnel.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Andrew, if you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. https://www.va.gov/health-care/secure-messaging/. Additionally, to learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html

  31. Penelope Penny Jones    

    Is there any provision for caregivers who are not professional/licensed care givers? I care for my 79 year old veteran husband full time with no other help. I do all the errands, shopping but I have no high-risk health issues so far. My husband does- COPD, only one kidney, hiatiall hernia, sleep apnea, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, etc. I am sure he will be scheduled to receive the vaccine at our local VA clinic

  32. Sandra Wade    

    If you are receiving care at a VA facility and have a VA primary position it’s best that you send a private message through the secured messaging port to your primary doctor at this time they’re still awaiting instructions notify their patience when they will be available for them just now receiving supplies before the vaccine is rolled out.
    This per response this morning from my Primary Dr.

  33. James E Wright    

    Another group that should be targeted for the vaccine are the minority groups. Blacks are dying at the greatest rate of any group with the exception of the permanently hospitalized, nursing homes, and healthcare workers. In Chicago,, (southside) 40% of those contracting the virus are dying. This is a phenomenal rate that will be the case in the VA Hospital system.

  34. Frederick W Richter    

    Age 88, VA rating ‘disabled’, various age related issues. Am I on the list?

    Fred

  35. Gerard M Pascale    

    I am trying to sign up to receive the Pfizer vaccine. I am 81 years old with Parkinson’s disease.

  36. Temistocles Fournier    

    I have an open heart surgery ( two bypass) in PR Hospital and others desease with record in San Juan Veterans Hospital,….how long I had been waiting for get my vaccinations and when it will be??

  37. Timothy Robert. Baumgartner    

    I would like to receive the vaccine. I am 77 years old and taking medication for hypertension (Lisinopril, 20mg) and for stroke victims (Atorvastatin, 80mg and Clopidogrel, 75mg).

    Thank you.

    Tim Baumgartner

  38. Federico C. FUENTES    

    I am wondering iif lung transplant Considered a high risk condition
    Fred
    Thank you for. Your time

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Federico, for questions related to your personal risk for COVID-19 and how this will determine when you will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine, contact your VHA health care provider or health care team. If you don’t receive care at a VA facility, we suggest you contact your personal health care provider. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to this
      CDC website – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html

  39. jack farmer    

    Thank your info,, I tried to sign up for Covid shot. I am a Veteran. This system will not let me sign in, thank you.

    1. Peder Johnsen    

      I Would just like to THANK all of the many staff and
      Doctors at the VA location on Chalkstone Ave in Providence RI! I think you do an excellent job and just wanted to THANK YOU ALL for everything you do and hope that all of you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
      Thank You for taking care of me!
      Peder Johnsen

    2. Russell Leaming    

      So, I’m not the only one who cannot sign in on the linked system for he Covid vaccination.

    3. Veterans Health Administration    

      Jack, there was a lot of interest from Veterans in signing up to stay informed about the COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage you to try again if you have not. If you are still having difficulty signing in, try taking these steps:

      • Clear your internet browser’s cookies and cache. Depending on your browser, you’ll find this information referred to as “Browsing Data,” “Browsing History,” or “Website Data.”
      • Make sure your cookies are enabled in your browser settings. Depending on the browser you’re using, you’ll usually find this information in the “Tools,” “Settings,” or “Preferences” menu.
      • If you’re using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, and clearing your cookies and cache doesn’t fix the problem, try using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead.

  40. GEORGE MICHAEL SHACKLETON    

    I am an 83 year old veteran receiving VA health care at the VA Clinic in Crown Point, Indiana. Regarding receiving the vaccine, how do you know what my high risk factors are besides my age? For example, I had a radical nephrectomy in January of 2019 at a civilian hospital and now have chronic kidney disease. Is that information already contained in my VA medical record ?
    Thank you.

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      George, for questions related to your personal risk for COVID-19 and how this will determine when you will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your VHA health care provider or health care team. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to this CDC website – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html

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