VA announces initial plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
December 24, 2020
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on Dec. 10, 2020, 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 37 medical centers 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.”
Shipments to the remaining VA medical centers across the country, including the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center in Walla Walla, are expected soon.
The local VA has posted information on the Walla Walla VA’s external website to help educate our Veterans about what to expect, https://www.wallawalla.va.gov/WALLAWALLA/features/COVID-19_Vaccine_Coming.asp.