On Feb. 24, Army Veteran Laureen Crews (pictured above), became the 10,000th Veteran to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at Harry. S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital. Her husband, Army Veteran Jonathan Crews, was the 10,001st Veteran to be vaccinated.

Since implementing a dedicated COVID vaccine clinic, Truman VA has administered almost 20,000 first and second doses of vaccinations to eligible Veterans and staff.

“Each year we care for almost 40,000 Veterans,” said Patricia Hall, medical center director. “That means we’ve vaccinated more than 25% of the Veterans we care for. Right now, we’re administering more than 2,000 vaccine doses per week. I’m very proud to lead such a dedicated group whose mission is to expedite the vaccination of our Veterans.”

Vaccinating enrolled Veterans of any age

Truman VA holds a COVID-19 vaccine clinic from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday each week at the medical center. Currently, Truman VA is vaccinating enrolled eligible Veterans of any age.

“As we’ve progressed from the initial stages of our vaccine program, we have continuously lowered the age requirement for Veterans who may receive a COVID-19 vaccination,” Hall said. “We’ve done this to ensure our most vulnerable Veterans have an opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Although we’ve opened up our vaccine clinic to all our enrolled eligible Veterans, we continue to actively reach out to our high-risk patients. And we have strategies in place to ensure that there is consistent availability for those Veterans.”

Ensuring rural Veterans the opportunity for vaccine

Truman VA also held off-site vaccine clinics at strategically selected Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). To date, all but one of the CBOC vaccine clinics have been by appointment only and were held on pre-scheduled dates.

“Our vaccine clinic team has been doing a great job organizing upcoming events,” Hall added. “It also tracks what we’ve received, what’s been allocated and what’s in our inventory. It’s logistically challenging. The reason for going off-site, which we do as often as possible, is to ensure our rural Veterans have the opportunity to be vaccinated as close to home as possible.”

For the most up-to-date information on Truman VA’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the medical center’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VAColumbiaMO/ or the medical center’s website at www.columbiamo.va.gov.

Jeff Hoelscher is a public affairs officer with the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital.

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