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Ralph H. Johnson VAMC begins COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution with Moderna

ICU Nurse Jefferey Beaulieu, the first employee at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on December 22, 2020

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center will begin COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine today following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine.

“We are eager to offer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to our health care personnel and the Veterans living in our community living center,” said Ralph H. Johnson VAMC Director and CEO Scott Isaacks. “Receiving the vaccine is like having hope delivered. As vaccine supplies increase, our ultimate goal is to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is one of 113 VA Medical Centers across the country to receive the first limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Sites were identified based on need for the vaccine according to CDC’s 1A prioritization and capacity to store the vaccine at -20C.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94 percent effective in clinical trials in preventing COVID-19 disease. The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart. The side effects appear similar to those of other vaccines and are short-lived.

Thirty-seven medical centers began offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel and Veterans on December 14th. Fifteen additional VA facilities will receive an allocation of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of December 21st.

Even after receiving COVID-19 vaccination, employees and Veterans should continue wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands often.

As vaccines become available for more groups of Veterans, VA care teams will reach out to eligible Veterans to schedule vaccinations. There is no need to preregister or come to a facility to sign up.

Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA’s VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, which launched on December 11th, 2020, and sign up to receive regular updates on the vaccine on the VA’s Stay Informed page.

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