Getting Veterans COVID-19 vaccinations high priority, says SecVA


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Continuing to get COVID-19 vaccinations for Veterans – especially those in rural and highly rural areas – is a high priority, VA Secretary Denis McDonough told reporters Feb. 23.

More than 1 million Veterans have at least one vaccine and 400,000 received both doses, McDonough said, with numbers of shots in arms climbing daily.

Veterans are generally receiving the COVID vaccine quickly after facilities receive doses.

“In many facilities, from arrival of dosages to having provided all those dosages in arms is about three to four days in some and not more than seven in any facility,” McDonough said.

The secretary has witnessed the urgency by VA staff to get Veterans the COVID-19 vaccine.

“People have taken really seriously the assignment to get these shots in arms,” he said.

To reach some Veterans, VA has found new and creative ways to deliver shots in arms. Veterans in rural Kalispell, Montana, received COVID-19 vaccines following an airplane delivery from Fort Harrison near Helena into Glacier Park International Airport Feb. 3. A private charter delivered 400 Moderna vaccines for high-risk Veterans. The area is one of the more remote parts of Montana, about 200 miles from Fort Harrison. Veterans also receive shots through mobile shot clinics, like one recently in Nebraska.


The secretary said Veterans will see continued vaccinations at VA facilities. As the vaccination program moves forward in the months to come, Veterans will see VA take that capacity on the road, too. And, VA will partner with federal agencies to further expand the number of vaccinators to get Veterans their shots.

McDonough said Veterans in rural and highly rural communities not receiving the vaccine is a concern. About 4.7 million Veterans live in rural and highly rural areas. Of those, about 2.7 million use VA health care. Rural Veterans enroll in VA health care at about a 58% rate, significantly higher than the 37-percent enrollment rate of urban Veterans.

Urban areas have at least 30% of the population residing in an urbanized area as defined by the Census Bureau. Rural areas have less people than urban areas, while highly rural areas have sparse population. Highly rural areas have less than 10% of the working population that commutes to any community larger than an urbanized cluster. That is typically a town of no more than 2,500 people.

A Veteran receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a Cottonwood Community Based Outpatient Clinic event in Arizona.

A Veteran receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a Cottonwood Community Based Outpatient Clinic event in Arizona.

Compared to urban areas, rural communities tend to have higher poverty rates. They also have more elderly residents, residents with poorer health and fewer physician practices, hospitals, and other health delivery resources. Rural Veterans enrolled in VA’s health care system are also significantly older. About 55% are over the age of 65.

Other COVID assistance for Veterans

Veterans are also receiving debt relief from VA, McDonough said. VA will continue suspension of collection on all Veteran benefit overpayments and medical copayment debts incurred after April 1, 2020. VA is suspending this debt collection to provide Veterans continued financial relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veterans also received an extension on existing moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, as well as an extension on VA loan forbearance requests, to June 30, because of COVID-19.

“The President has given us a clear mission to do everything we can to get to and through this pandemic,” McDonough said. “And providing that economic relief is a big part of that.”

VA staff

The secretary said about 259,000 VA clinicians received at least the first vaccine and about 220,000 received both doses. That allows health care workers to provide continuing care to Veterans.

As secretary, McDonough said he wants to empower VA staff to be “innovative and creative” in finding ways to serve Veterans. He said Veterans deserve VA staff to have clear processes and procedures to provide care. In his short time as secretary, he’s been impressed with VA staff.

“I think the people are really talented people,” he said.

More information

To learn how Veterans and designated caregivers can get COVID-19 vaccine from VA, visit https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/84404/veterans-designated-caregivers-can-get-covid-19-vaccine-va/.

Find answers to general VA COVID-19 vaccine questions at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/.

To receive ongoing updates about VA’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts and to indicate your interest in getting the vaccine once you’re eligible, visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.

Read the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download.

Read the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download.

Author

Adam Stump

Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a retired Air Force Veteran who served 20 years, including two deployments to Afghanistan for detention operations and special operations.

Comments

  1. Earl Pitman    

    I am looking for advise. So I have been using the VA health system for many years and so far it works for me. I am presently 64 years and approaching 65 in June 2021. I was automatically enrolled into the Medicare Health Insurance system as I am also receiving Social Security retirement benefits.

    My question is should I continue in the VA system or crossover into Medicare. It seem I am already and automatically enrolled into the Part A & B of Medicare which covers 80% for Hospital & Medical and I would have to purchase additional 20% insurance through various health insurance companies to cover me 100%.

    For those of you who are 65 & older, what choices did you make? Is there an office or phone number I can contact that can advise me?

  2. Ferdinand Damascco    

    I have been going through Hampton Veterans Hospital for many years. I was just there a week ago and I was ask all that question prior to enetering the facility. If the Veterans Hospital priorities are give vaccine to all veterans, then why I wasn’t ask if I want to get vaccinated. I have signed up for the vaccine 2 months ago still haven’t got any email or letter. I found out about vaccine being given to veterans from friend resource. I am out in the community due to my job. I was wondering when can I get mine. Or I need to make appoinment to get the vaccine.

  3. charles michael johnson    

    have heart disease , cancer

    covid 19 shot

    [Editor: DO NOT PUBLISH your sensitive and PII on the internet! This blog post is not the place to request or schedule care.]

  4. Ted A. Myers    

    Getting Veterans COVID-19 vaccinations high priority, says SecVA: Well that is really great! I live 2 miles from a large VA system in Temple TX. I am a Registered user of that system! I have been there 3 times trying to get a shot for covid ! I was stopped and checked 3 times for covid before I got to the main complex! When I finally got inside everyone that was there were locked in their offices. No admittance! Finally got to talk to a person set up at a desk in the hallway! Told not to come back in person they would contact me. I haven’t heard a word. Also been waiting on a set of hearing aids since october 2020! That takes about 4 days in town. 4 months later back to VA. Demanded to see someone in audiology! Got read the riot act and told I would be escorted out by police! Was then taken in to see the head of audiology who told me how under staffed they were and I would be contacted. A week later and I have not heard a word! The VA is another failed bloated government good ideal gone bad, that is sucking up taxpayer dollars like pigs at the trough!

    1. Tud Myurs    

      You seem like an incredibly horrible person.

  5. Robert Funke    

    I’ve read the replies here, and I’ve heard many complaints and many discussions of praise, most are in the middle.
    Some suggestions:
    1. Call any Veterans Organization, DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. I can assure you they have the means to get you into “the system”. Produce a DD214, or another form of proof of service and they will ensure you get into the system, (unless you have a BCD).

    2.If you are a disabled vet, especially if the disability is service-connected and you have not made a claim, do it tomorrow. If you can read this on a computer, you can make a claim online. It took me several months to get a vet friend of mine to enroll and make a claim. Initially, he received 30% disability and received a payment at 30% from 1968 to last year. He appealed, received 90%, the 60% addition from 1968 and now a 90% disability check on the first. of every month has helped him out tremendously. ALL of his medical care, (for dental you need to be at 100%) and medications are cost free.

    3.Don’t give up! It is YOUR responsibility to make the first steps. Don’t complain to me about the from the 60’s/70’s, The system has problems, but if you can show me any medical facility that does not have problems, I will name you the new god.

    4. You can use a proxy if you are in need of one: services are available for in-home care if deemed necessary; you get an eye exam and new glasses every year; I’m on a once a year colonoscopy regimen because of family history and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

    Bottom Line, don’t whine, get off your dead butts and take action. If you spent more than 90 days Active Duty, and any discharge other than a BCD get moving! Today’s VA covers the Army, Navy, USMC, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and women who served through all of the services, regardless of timeline.

    1. Justice Matts    

      The problem with the VA is a little bloated government entity that hires people based on whether they have veterans preference or do they fit a certain group rather than hiring the most qualified people I sat for 15 years and watched the laziest people faking disabilities to get 5060 or 100% disability by coming to work claiming they can’t type or they have a migraine and shaking more reasons not to work I watched it over and over and I literally heard them conspire about shaking migraine headaches are hearing loss to get 90% disability then the World War II veterans of guys with super severe injuries have to wait so long to get there their disability through that’s why the VA system is clogged because you have super lazy employees four or five at a time doing jobs at two people can do in the private sector they ride the government gravy train 26 days off vacation 13 sick days 12 holidays and I can call in sick or come late almost anytime they want I worked my ass off for 15 years doing all of my work and 50% of three other lazy males work you couldn’t say anything to them because they found EEO complaint if anyone said to them they weren’t working hard enough they blamed it on their disability meanwhile guys in wheelchairs with severe disabilities were working twice as hard as them it seems like the ones with the low disabilities who want to increase their disabilities are the ones who faked the most
      And are the laziest That is why there’s such a backlog at the VA you can’t hire the most qualified person like I said a person from Harvard they did not serve can’t get a job even though they could probably do the work and the efficiency of three people to make the VA like a job welfare program meanwhile a lot of guys are collecting between 800-3000 a month on top of their federal salaries. I’m not begrudging disability pay I’m just saying that 95% of the job at the VA should not re-reserved only for people who have 30 for your 50% disability because they have no incentive to work half the time I lived it I saw it with my own eyes every day when they can start hiring the highest qualified people to provide the highest qualified care to the veterans these for World War II veterans that are waiting for their shots and living on $400 pensions won’t wait in line because 35-year-old guys are sucking off the government pig as employees

      1. Tud Myurs    

        How do horrible ignorant comments like this get approved?

  6. Debbie Jones    

    Our nearest VA facility (clinic) is 1.5 hours, one way. The VA hospital is 4 hours, one way. We have had no contact with the VA here in CA regarding the shots. The website isn’t working well. When I ask the clinic about the shots, they tell me they are compiling list. That was about a month ago.

    1. Moirraine    

      My “claim” was put in without my MST claim, on purpose.

      Stop thinking we aren’t doing OUR due diligence, some of us are just flat out being abused.

  7. Abel Gonzalez - Vietnam vet    

    I have yet to understand why a vet needs to be “in the VA system” to be considered for getting the covid vaccine? Why is the fact that I have private medical insurance cancel my right to receive VA medical services? I would think you would welcome vets with private insurance because the VA would not have to provide medical services that are provided and payed for outside of the VA system.

    I finally decided to get my first vaccine through the public health system in Ft Worth, and they did not care if I was a vet or not, just that I had a compromised health system and that I was the proper age.

    “As secretary, McDonough said he wants to empower VA staff to be “innovative and creative” in finding ways to serve Veterans. He said Veterans deserve VA staff to have clear processes and procedures to provide care. In his short time as secretary, he’s been impressed with VA staff.”

    Well, I AM NOT IMPRESSED!

  8. David Hastings    

    I called the VA to get information on setting my COVID vaccine. I learned that I am not eligible because ai am not an active VA medical patient. I stopped going to the Winsted, Connecticut VA Clinic in 2016 after the doctor there almost got me killed by not recognizing the symptoms of a major DVT in my leg (“it can’t be a blood clot, because you would already be dead”).

  9. Robert JV    

    Upstate NY I don’t Remember a email about the Convid-19 shot too me

  10. Ronald Dawe    

    ….hello…
    US Army Vietnam vet here, living in Canada….any recommendation(s) for me???
    Border crossing is an issue….like what do US Consulate people do???

    1. Nursejackie    

      Youre better off. Look at VAERS.

  11. joseph weaver jr.    

    I live in downstate Delaware 100 % disabled and have not heard a word from the VA. I am disgusted!

  12. John Lord    

    I must live in another world, the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) in Germany says it’s not responsible
    and they don’t provide or pay for the shots. I’m a 100% T&P. (31D).
    They advised me, basically they where not FUNDED FOR SHOTS .and the Corvidt19 didn’t induvial affect indivually my SCD.
    The shot has to be aggravating the Service connected disability (SCD)!

    I guess I will have to be infected to see. This is topped by (FMP) not paying for an ambulance and overnight in the hospital when a bike driver raced into me. The person who raced into me called the ambulance. They would not take him, but insisited I go. It affected me completely, but not indivually my SCD.
    I did what the Red Cross Medic advised me to do, because the where internal injuries.
    The VA FMP says that three’s no ambulance only for vet’s in i the US.

    In the future, if I get Corbit 19,because I didn’t get the shot is there any advice and I’s effecting all of me:(

  13. Rene Cardenas    

    well, living in Bend Or. believing the V.A. would be helping a 74 yr old Vietnam vet has not happened yet. I have given up on any expectations of that the Veterans Administration here will be helpful. Must look for other opportunities to get vaccinated

  14. ALAN W JOSEPH    

    will clinics get the vaccine in the near future.

  15. RICHARD KNOX    

    I am 73 years old have a heart condition, diabetes and a seizure disorder. I have already been determined to be eligible for the current group to get a covid vaccine. I get my care at the Meadville PA
    VA clinic I have not been called or e-mailed or heard anything besides “don’t call us we we’ll call you.” Is the VA ever going to give vaccines in small towns or do we have to go 90 miles south to Pittsburg or 40 miles north to Erie to get this vital protection? Has the VA forgotten the small town vet or have they dropped the ball again?

  16. Ron Stanford    

    I am a Disabled VN Vet and have been going to the local clinic in Lake Jackson, Texas. (It is a great clinic). We were told that all the clinics were going to be giving the shot. Well, That is not what happened. All the clinic except for the L.J. Clinic will be giving the shot. We were told we would have to go to the Houston VA 2 times to get shots. It is not easy to get around in Houston now that they have most of the highways under construction and it is very difficult to get around. This means several hundred Vets will have to drive there. I asked “WHY” and was told that they didn’t have the proper cold storage for shots at this clinic. I am not sure why a cold storage unit could not be rented to be used in L.J.

  17. Charles J Noble    

    I am a American senior Vet living in the Philippines and utilize the VA clinic here in Manila as many Americans living here do.
    As of yet, we have not received the Cov.-19 vaccine and I, we would like to know if and when it will be available here?
    Thank you

  18. Heather Rae Snyder    

    Our VA in Lebanon, PA must be very far behind the other Med centers. No contact from them, and no doses being sent out to the regional clinics to vaccinate anyone not close enough to go to the Med Center. Starting to feel like those of us in outer areas are being ignored. I’m high risk, with three auto-immune diseases, taking two different meds to suppress my immune system, plus other risk factors. Really frustrating to realize that we just aren’t that important. I know there isn’t a ton of vaccine out there yet, but nothing is being done with the clinics, or their patients. Trying to find a shot elsewhere, and coming up empty there too. Feel like I’m gonna be stuck in my house forever.

  19. EDWARD WILCOX    

    Why is Eastern Mass vaccinating 55 older? While in Western Mass we can not get vaccines for 65 older. I would like to be treated equally!

  20. Roger W Spencer    

    This article is so up and promising as to how our country’s VA system is caring for the vets. It’s obvious that it was not written in the real world, but in the office of a VA public relations officer who knows how it should be… but not a clue of how it really is.
    I wasn’t even contacted about having a vaccine so after waiting over 6 months I contacted my local VA in Kerrville, TX. I was told I would have to call San Antonio VA as this hospital was only giving the vaccines to the local residents and the staff. Oh, let me also say that I’m 80 yrs. of age and had two heart surgeries two years ago also caused by VA (another story). Now it’s an hour and a half both ways, to Audie Murphy and then a half hour walk from available parking for a healthy person. The smugness and sarcasm of the staff here bubbles over with the attitudes of “We don’t care… Just try to do anything about it.”
    I have had problems with the Doctors, however the one’s I have now seem good even tho’ the last several visits have been by phone appointments accomplishing little as for relief of my ailments. I have heart problems, oxygen breathing problems, and other age related problems, yet every time I try to use my Medicare for relief or assistance, VA has bean counters that restricts my usage of getting needed medical equipment or assist equipment for my condition. I also do not give up so they read this as me not needing any help. I’m happy for those of you that do get good care, and GOD bless those of you that just try to be comfortable while waiting for the end, one way or another.

  21. GLEN SHICK    

    I LIVE IN PLATTSBURGH NY I HAVE NOT GOT MY FIRST COVID SHOT YET WILL THEY GET AHOLD OF ME WHEN I CAN IM 63 BUT I HAVE MEDICAL PROBLEMS. AND CAN MY WIFE GET IT TO

  22. FRANK L LOUNSBURY    

    My wife and I both recieved our covid shots through our local health network.I am 75+ and was never contacted by the VA to come in for the shot.I’m a little disapointed in this oversight.

  23. Francis Maggio    

    We get numerous emails from the VA about Covid but never any info about where to get the shot. I am a 70 year old Service disabled Veteran and there was shots being given 2/6 and 2/7 at the VA Baltimore Medical Center to Vets 65 and older . I found out after the fact from other Vets. You never sent me a notice about it. So whats the deal ?? Can I get the shots or not ? Even this notice has no info.

    1. Mjo    

      My dads 95..ww2 vet and Korea…lives in Ma…can’t get a vaccine appt…disgusting….but if was a mass prisoner he would already be vaccinated….

  24. A.O    

    Reading all the comments it would appear that there is no co-ordinated system of distribution except for employees. Does not make a lot of difference regardless of where you live. Hit and miss at best. Signed up and waited. Signed up at the local university. They follow CDC guidelines for who has priority. Got first shot then a day or two before the second the VA called and offered the first. Go figure.

  25. Dennis Nelson    

    Well I’m waiting for my vaccine I know people are on their second round of shots I have not received one I have breathing issues two my age i’m diabetic

  26. Terry Hubbard    

    I am very pleased with the quality of service I have received from the American Lake VA. Called the number sent in a email and got scheduled immediately. Plus scheduled for 2nd shot at same time. I have been passing on number to other veterans. It was just a general email not just just to me.

    1. Stephanie Lynn Partin    

      I receive my Healthcare at the Ann Arbor VA in Ann Arbor Michigan. I’m 49 without any underlying medical conditions and I got my vaccine this month Feb 2021. The VA here is killing it!! Maybe some of the other VA hospitals can get some pointers from Ann Arbor.

      1. R Rankin    

        Good for you, My 100% disabled son gets care there also and they are great, unlike the Detroit VA…

      2. Al Burley    

        Am glad you are feeling well! Some of our Veterans had fell ill with Hearts Issues, am glad you are not one of them!

    2. Chuck Baker    

      Im a retired Marine/Soldier with 24 years active duty. We are forgotten. I’m 65 years old and no notification of an available place to receive the vaccine. Thanks Department of Defense.

      1. Jim Amundsen    

        Chuck, 27 years in the Army here. I was told by the VA they would contact me about the shots. Nothing since then. Seems the attention that Veterans began getting in 2016 is fading fast.

  27. William R Elmstrom    

    I have been using the VA for my primary medical care since I turned 65 eight years ago. I have nothing but praise for the care I get and the way I have been treated. As far as the COVID vaccine all you need to do is sign up for the COVID update to know when you will be called. The VA is using the same protocol as every other organization that gives the shots. Because of the number of shots available to them they are still working on people 75 and above. This doesn’t mean that you can’t sign up to get your shot elsewhere.

    I checked with the Twin Cities VA and was signed up for a shot right away. That’s because they have a greater population to care for. I also signed up for the Minnesota lottery and was selected right away and have already received my first shot.

    I can’t understand all the negative comments in the responses I have read. The military followed rules and the VA has to do the same. Get a life and quiet complaining. Know the rules the VA must follow and you will find out they are following all rules. I am a disabled vet and signed up at the my local VA and have been receiving at least weekly status reports as to where they are in the protocol. I don’t call them because I trust them and because with every call they get from someone demanding a shot that isn’t eligible yet is just wasting valuable time that the BA could use to help others.

    Bill Elmstrom
    Chisago City, MN

  28. John Taylor    

    Getting my second shot at Castle Point, New York on March 4th. Everyone running the program is a caring, kind and considerate. My praise goes out to the folks there and the VA. Thank you !

  29. Larry Lesson    

    If people don’t want the vaccine that’s fine! Give it to a real deserving veteran. The comments about being fake are nothing but right-wing propaganda and those that participate should not even receive VA care for anything else just in case that’s fake too. Dumbasses! As a disabled vet I still haven’t been able to get vaccinated.

    1. John Taylor    

      Wow. I just made a phone call to the VA and they scheduled me. Disabled also. I am 76 yrs old. I know they are doing be age.

  30. Jerry Van Ness    

    Just as a comment, I think the VA has improved dramatically over the past 4 years, and the attitude of the doctors and employeees is refreshing. I did have a promblem with the attitude and actions of the physical therapy unit in Madison, WI, but I imagine that has changed also (the story is one of apathy on the part of the dept. supervisor 5 or so years ago).. I no longer use the VA as my primary care, but I certainly would consider it now. I assume the Trump administration had something to do with the positive changes, but I do not know that as a fact. My experience with the VA recently has been very positive. .

  31. Wanda Lynn Baier-Bordeaux    

    I am disappointed in the way the notification of available vaccine has gone at my local VAMC. In December I was signed up to be called when vaccines became available. Through December and early January Employees and inpatients were being vaccinated – fine. Then the local news says in early Feb that the VA was getting 2000 first doses and to call a number to register. Hmmm I thought I was registered. I called. Not giving appointments to any Veteran under 75. The news said that others could sign up for future availability. I asked about that and was told they weren’t taking anyone under 75 to sign up. I said the news said they were so the employee reluctantly said ok and took my info. She was just trying to not do what she was supposed to do. Which is typical of the average clerical VA employees in my experience. A few weeks later I get a text asking when I wanted to have the shot. When I could look at my phone after 18 minutes, I called and all the appointments were taken until April and there was no sign-up for April. So I kept calling the number nearly daily and finally yesterday, someone said that there were appointments for March and when did I want one – first available was March 3. So frustrating. If I just followed what I was told I still wouldn’t have an appointment. Same story about my husband who is not a veteran. He finally got an appointment by pressing on the line for second shot reservations when the first shot reservation line was closed for 2 weeks. He got an appointment 2 days out. So the moral of this story is that don’t bother to follow rules to get the vaccine.

  32. Rebecca Spencer    

    I am curious to know why the only reply to these people, practically begging to know why VA has not gotten to them, is for the ones who are negative towards it.
    There is something seriously wrong with that.

  33. Ronald Vaden    

    I have been using the VA medical system for all my medical needs for over 20 years and have nothing but the highest praise for the excellent care I have received.

  34. NANCY J DOUGHERTY    

    I’m a retired Navy vet and have not been able to get the COVID 19 shot either at the VA (because I wasn’t a disabled vet as my husband is….). I have signed up with Public Health (Pinehurst NC) but cancelled my first opportunity to get a shot because the VA said I could get it when my husband got his. NOT SO when we arrived at the VA facility in Rayford NC.

    I signed up again with Public Health on 1 Feb and have heard nothing since. I have tried to get signed up with Walgreens in Southern Pines NC, but have not been able to get through as the computer says service unavailable at this time.

    I have a propensity to get pneumonia/bronchitis, am 79 years old and would like to obtain at least one shot of the vaccine. Thank you.
    Nancy J. Dougherty, CDR USN RET.

  35. Abigail Cepeda    

    I want to be volunteer to help to give a covid 19 shot im a nurse

  36. MAG. Gabriela S. Cope, BSc.    

    Overseas veterans are forgotten soldiers!!

  37. Robert Chopp    

    I am in Thailand my flight cancelled 2nd time can I get a shot here??
    if so how?

  38. Randy Logsdon    

    Veterans are a high priority especially rural Veterans. How about Veterans overseas? Why not just all veterans regardless of location?furthermore, if you vaccinate someone in the household, then vaccinate the entire household. The vaccine is free to all Americans.

  39. Paul E Zimarowski    

    I have yet to receive any vaccine yet am 72, 100% disabled there isn’t anyone giving the dosage in Burlington NJ..pez

  40. Allen Perry    

    Hi Adam,
    I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon. The population of our city is around 1800 people. I haven’t heard of any of my friends receiving the vaccine, None. We either go to Roseburg VA center or North Bend Clinic. I’ve asked the North bend clinic, in person, and they said, “No idea if at all”. Go figure! We’re use to waiting. You should see how long it takes just for a check up. I was given the date of July about 2 weeks ago. Email our Congressman De Fabulos and you get the standard baloney computer generated answer. No contact with a human. So thanks for at least recognizing there is a problem. A BIG PROBLEM!!
    Allen Perry
    USN

  41. Phyllis    

    Are you going to do anything about it? My medical clinic is in Winnemucca. Over the Oregon Border right now locked away. This is some of the most rural area of US and it is split by Visions. I have been locked away, alone, living on food storage for a year. Just traveled to Winnemucca to get fresh food and look for substitute housing. Have not been out since November alone. Lost my original residence in Winnemucca during Covid when landlord collapsed. I have a residence now outside Imlay Nevada. That property is being sold. It is very difficult to find new property when you are high risked, old, disabled and alone. There is a shortage of housing. I took a risk yesterday, but slept in a very cold Van to look at housing, get groceries and talk to nurse at VA clinic in Winnemucca. I talked to some veterans in Winnemucca. They are getting it from state of Neveda. I am 64 will be 65 in Jun. Osteopenia main concern for Covid. Reno only vaccination site. I am currently 190 miles from the VA vaccination site held up on ranch property alone. Are you going to do anything about getting it to the clinics or just talk about it till it is readily available from all sources? I have been told to sign up anywhere to try to get it and qualify on any list. Realize I will be driving back by myself with possible fever headache and fatigue on top of my other medical conditions to use VA Reno system if it is offered.

    Lets get it in a Van and start driving to administer shots, publicize list and locations for sign up or something. I’m hopeful Oregon will come through first and wont have to drive as far. They say I am high risk. However, they are behind on old high risk because they chose teachers first. VA says I am under 65. We need to address the rural and all high risk categories not just a couple. Our local grocery store cannot create proper distance because of set up and have no pickup options. I cant sit in Reno in winter and get a call because there is extra vaccine like urban veterans. I’m blessed as I had money to stock up on food and am warm. Susanville, Winnemucca, Alturas, Lakeview etc…. Maybe there are other options but how would I know? I’m locked away. I wonder how many other veterans there are out here in eastern Oregon, northern Nevada and NE California in similar situations?

  42. Chris Starrett    

    I’ll take a bullet in the head before I’ll take any kind of vaccine! Do your research man!

    [Editor: “Do your research” has become a common refrain for those who attempt to refute science with internet conspiracies. Sadly, America has now lost more than 500,000 Americans and many millions more have been hospitalized or will suffer from permanent longterm effects, including damage to the lungs, heart and brain. Yes, please do more research, but stick to actual primary sources, not conspiracists. The CDC is a great place to start: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home ]

    1. Kevin Jacksion    

      Your comments are very much to the heart of the matter. We have the same problem in the Kansas City area. Vaccinations are available primarily only for those living close to the VA Medical Center. They have no plans to vaccinate veterans in outlying/rural areas. They could address this by shipping vaccine out to the various annex clinics and offering appointments -or- by using a mobile van to travel to annex clinics and administer the vaccine. They won’t. If local grocery store pharmacies can handle the logistics and provide vaccinations…the VA certainly could if this wasn’t a politicized activity. The VA does a lot of things right, but on this one, they SUCK.

  43. Luis Perez Rodriguez    

    That’s absolutely not true ima veteran with underlined health conditions and not only has the VA not been able to tell me when ,where or what plan do they have , but they haven’t even reached out to me or made the effort.

  44. Steven J Smith    

    Yes, we in rural area’s are not getting any vaccine from the VA. I have signed up three times to be called by Portland. My 83 year vet friend down the street has done the same. Neither one of us has gotten a phone call, no explanation and not even an acknowledgement of the problem until now. Much younger vets are having no problem getting shots in the Portland area. I have come to the conclusion that with the VA it is a numbers game. Easier and cheaper to give shots to those in urban area’s. Much slower shots frequency would happen in the rural area’s. So the shot count looks good, right.

    So I still do not see any solution presented in this article. Will this be acknowledged and then forgotten. I’m still waiting for my shot.

  45. Paul D Templeton    

    When will I get my vaccine shots. I keep getting told its not your time from Military & Washington State Department Of Health just turned 63 an gained a lot of weight 263lbs. I live with my brother he is my care taker he his 61

  46. Craig Schmidt    

    I wouldn’t be concerned about the rural veterans. They likely don’t want to run the risk of getting a vaccine that is paralyzing and killing people. Direct your focus elsewhere. Rural folks are hearty and likely immune to BS!

    [Editor: Please stop sharing false, deadly information. America has now lost more than 500,000 Americans. Many millions more have been hospitalized or will suffer from permanent longterm effects, including damage to the lungs, heart and brain. More resources and information, here: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home ]

    1. John Buchanan    

      I wish there was a vaccine for stupitity!

  47. MSG John Laigaie    

    I am a very “rural” Veteran and so is my wife. We both feel that the “vaccine” can be used for others as we will pass. The “pandemic” was a joke and we will not participate in it.

    [Editor: America has now lost more than 500,000 Americans. Many millions more have been hospitalized or will suffer from permanent longterm effects, including damage to the lungs, heart and brain. More resources and information, here: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home ]

  48. Robert Quiles    

    No vaccine for vets in rural areas of Palo alto VA
    Health care. System

  49. James Packard    

    The more I read about your concerns I feel like us veterans that dont take va healthcare, aren’t really veterens.

  50. Carol Menke    

    Why does my husband’s income count against me. All his income is exempt because of Vietnam for his qualification in VA. If exempt for him why not for me? When he dies I will only be getting his social security which is 17000.00$ a year. All I want is a COVID vaccine. I am 77 years old and my husband is 84.

  51. John Paul Finch    

    To the VA staff and volunteers…Thank You for your service to us vets…Semper Fi

  52. David Schimmel    

    Why doesn’t the mission act apply to the vaccine? I normally get my specialist appointments at community care providers. I was told I had to go the the city 3 counties away for the VA to give me the Covid 19 vaccine. The transmission rate in that county is very high. Why are you asking veterans to drive an hour and a half each way to get a vaccine?

  53. Michael Levija    

    Hello,
    Great article and I live in an extremely rural area of the country where it takes veterans at least two hours one way to get to their providers. I am a veteran myself and have a Master Degree in Homeland Security/Public Health and would be interested on how I can get the vaccine into arms of fellow veterans.

    Thank you,
    Michael

  54. Lisa R Perez    

    I am also a veteran (fairly able bodied) I live in Phoenix AZ. Is there a place or group I can go to to volunteer to help distribute shots to veterans in need? If so please contact me. Thank you – Lisa Perez

  55. Gregory Mack    

    The VA is doing an excellent job with getting out the Covid 19 Vaccinations at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, NM the staff is very professional and organized. I recently received my first shot and March 2, I get the second dose. I’m proud to have served my country in Vietnam back in 1967 and 1968.

  56. Stephen Feeley    

    No way. I was refused a second vaccine injection because I didn’t get the first one at the VA. I elected not to wait for such an unsure thing. I have a shot card and just need a second Moderna shot.

  57. Anthony Duran    

    WHEN (date) are rural areas getting the Covid-19 vaccine? Namely the Las Vegas New Mexico area?

  58. William Walket    

    Looking for vaccine at VA in Springfield MO.

  59. William Walket    

    We need shots at va in Springfield,Missouri. Need them now

  60. Harry A Metz    

    The VA needs to have an option as to whether we want to pay our copays or not. I would rather pay my monthly copay than let it pile up to an amount that i can’t pay. Please don’t wait 8 months and then send me a bill. I can’t pay it. But I can pay each time I go to the VA. Please give us the option.

    1. Thallassa Gunelius    

      Harry you can set up a payment plan. If you have debt related to VA health care, please call 866-400-1238. Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

  61. Ed Ashe    

    I live in Cherokee Village, Ar. and so far no one has contacted me about getting the Covid-19 shots. Do i need to contact my locale call in doctor in Mountain Home, Ar. to see if I am on the waiting list or what should I do. Thank you, Edward Ashe

  62. William oliver    

    I find the things going on very bleak.. I’m 74 100% disabled and my clinic in College Station has no idea when they will get vaccinations… I was told beginning of February.. then middle of February … so know I got no idea …. does the VA really have it togather??? Letting people know what’s going on is nice…

  63. Larry David Sheets    

    I have informed my VA provider on two different occasions that I wanted the vaccine months ago and have asked what the plan was for our clinic in Tyler, Texas. They would not provide any info and just said make sure my phone number is correct in the system and someone would be calling. Well my phone number has always been correct in the system but I sure haven’t received that call. Many of my friends I served with all across the country have received their first and some their second already and many are younger than me(66). Many went to VA Vaccine Clinics scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. Why isn’t this happening in East Texas? I gave up on the VA and got my first Phizer dose from the Public Health Department in Tyler Texas this morning.

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