VA Maryland Health Care System helps VA reach milestone vaccinating its 1 millionth Veteran

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The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration announced yesterday that it vaccinated its 1 millionth Veteran with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The VA Maryland Health Care System has administered more than 9,700 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to local Veterans and 2,700 second doses. The VA began COVID-19 immunizations in December 2020. As of February 17, VA has vaccinated 329,685 Veterans with a second dose.

VA Maryland Health Care System Director Jonathan Eckman said, “We are encouraged by the number of Maryland veterans we have been able to vaccinate so far and look forward to meeting VA’s goal of offering vaccines to all eligible Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration announced yesterday that it vaccinated its 1 millionth Veteran with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The VA Maryland Health Care System has administered more than 9,700 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to local Veterans and 2,700 second doses. The VA began COVID-19 immunizations in December 2020. As of February 17, VA has vaccinated 329,685 Veterans with a second dose.

Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are given 21 days after the first dose, and second doses of the Moderna vaccine are given 28 days after the first dose. The second dose completes the course of vaccination.

VA’s COVID-19 National Summary publishes vaccination data daily on Veterans, including information on employee and federal partner vaccinations. For those reviewing the site, when an individual receives both doses from VA, they have completed their vaccine course; therefore, “second dose” and “completed” are synonymous.

VA follows current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the VA COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan. During the limited supply phase, VA facilities have made progress through CDC Phase 1a and are offering vaccines to Veterans in Phase 1b, which includes Veterans aged 75 and older. However, some sites are offering vaccine to additional Veterans at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as supply permits.

“VA guidance encourages local flexibility in order to maximize COVID-19 vaccine access and efficiency and limit potential vaccine waste,” said Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, M.D. “In this limited supply phase, our COVID-19 vaccination strategy is balancing site-specific resources, facility needs, vaccine availability, and status of the pandemic locally, as well as strict storage, handling and transportation parameters of available vaccines.”

VA Maryland Health Care System Director Jonathan Eckman said, “We are encouraged by the number of Maryland veterans we have been able to vaccinate so far and look forward to meeting VA’s goal of offering vaccines to all eligible Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The VA Maryland Health Care System is reaching out to enrolled Veterans who are eligible for vaccination. Veterans who would like additional information can visit the VA COVID-19 vaccines webpage, visit VA Maryland Health Care System’s website at http://www.maryland.va.gov and click on “Sign Up and Stay Informed About the COVID-19 Vaccine” so they can be contacted once they become eligible. .

The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at three medical centers and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from VAMHCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a veteran can do. To enroll for VA health care, interested veterans can call 877-222-8387 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or they can visit http://www.va.gov and clinic on “Apply now for VA health care.”

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Rosalia Scalia
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