The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently vaccinated its 1 millionth Veteran with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. They began vaccinations in December, 2020 and in just a month and a half administered 1 million does of the COVID-19 vaccine to Veterans and VA health care workers. The VA is currently using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with second doses given 21 days after the first shot and the Moderna vaccine with second doses given 28 days after the first shot.
“In addition to administering 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, VA has begun publishing the number of Veterans who have received Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines at each facility across its enterprise,” said Acting VA Secretary Dat Tran. “The number of doses administered to Veterans at each facility will be updated daily on the VA COVID-19 National Summary website.” The summary publishes vaccine date daily as well as information on COVID-19 cases. As of February 25, 2021, the VA has vaccinated 1,471,228 individuals with their first dose and 785,255 have completed their course by receiving their second dose of the vaccine.
Out of these numbers, 264,167 employees received their first dose and 228,521 received their second dose. The VA is the nation’s largest health care system and employs more than 322,030 full time health care professionals and support staff. They are well on their way to ensuring their essential staff can receive the vaccine. Employees are working to vaccinate the VA’s health care personnel and Veterans most at risk as soon as possible. The VA makes the data about vaccine doses public as a step toward being as transparent as possible during the pandemic.
Currently there are more than 215 VA sites nationally providing vaccines. Currently the supply of vaccines is limited but once supply increases the number of sites will expand. The VA is following the current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the VA COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan. “VA guidance encourages local flexibility to maximize COVID-19 vaccine access and efficiency while limiting 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 is reaching out to Veterans who are eligible for vaccination. Veterans who would like additional information can visit the VA COVID-19 vaccines webpage, visit their local facility’s website or contact their care team. The goal is to offer the vaccine to all Veterans and employees who want it as supply increases.