VA announces initial plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a preliminary plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccinations it will implement once the Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency use authorization for a vaccine.
VA has worked in close coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed to plan for COVID-19 vaccination of VA staff and Veterans.
VA will first provide vaccinations to front-line VA health care workers and Veterans residing in long-term care units in 37 of its medical centers across the country.
The centers, listed below, were chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.
Health care workers will be among the first to receive vaccinations because they are at high risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 to other staff members and patients, and their health is critical to ensuring the continued care of Veterans.
Veterans in VA’s long-term care facilities will be the first patient group to be vaccinated. As vaccine supplies increase, additional Veterans will receive vaccinations based on factors such as age, existing health problems and other considerations that increase the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
VA anticipates a limited vaccine supply immediately after FDA’s approval, but expects more supplies to be available in short order.
“VA is well prepared and positioned to begin COVID-19 vaccinations,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Our ultimate goal is to offer it to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”
The 37 VA sites chosen for initial distribution of the vaccine will closely monitor patients and staff for side effects and log this information in its vaccine monitoring and tracking system. This is the same system VA uses to monitor reactions to all vaccines, including those for the flu and shingles.
VA will report directly to the CDC data on all vaccine doses administered by VA. The department will also provide general, public updates on the number of people who receive the vaccination at these sites, similar to how VA posts COVID-19 testing figures.
The 37 VA sites are spread throughout the country and include:
Birmingham (AL) VA Health Care System
Phoenix (AZ) VA Health Care System
Greater Los Angeles (CA) VA Health Care System
Palo Alto (CA) VA Health Care System
Eastern Colorado (CO) VA Health Care System
Connecticut (West Haven Campus) VA Health Care System
Washington DC VA Health Care System
Orlando (FL) VA Health Care System
Augusta (GA) VA Health Care System
Edward J. Hines Jr. VA Hospital (IL)
Lexington (KY) VA Health Care System
Southeast Louisiana (New Orleans) VA Health Care System
Maryland (Baltimore) VA Health Care System
Bedford (MA) VA Health Care System
Ann Arbor (MI) VA Health Care System
Minneapolis (MN) VA Health Care System
Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital (Columbia MO)
St. Louis (MO) VA Health Care System
Omaha (NE) VA Health Care System
Southern Nevada (North Las Vegas) VA Health Care System
Raymond G. Murphy (NM) VA Health Care System
New York Harbor (Brooklyn) VA Health Care System
Western New York (Buffalo) VA Health Care System
Durham (NC) VA Health Care System
Cleveland (OH) VA Health Care System
Oklahoma City (OK) VA Health Care System
Portland (OR) VA Health Care System
Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (Philadelphia PA)
Pittsburgh (PA) VA Health Care System
Caribbean (Puerto Rico) VA Health Care System
Memphis (TN) VA Health Care System
Dallas (TX) VA Medical Center
Michael E. DeBakey VA Health Care System (Houston TX)
Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital (San Antonio TX)
Richmond (VA) VA Health Care System
Puget Sound (WA) VA Health Care System
Milwaukee (WI) VA Health Care System
Veterans seeking additional information should visit the VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, contact their care team or visit their facility website.
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