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Close to 60,000 vaccines administered by VA

Close to 60,000 vaccines administered by VA

In January, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a 99-year-old World War II Army Veteran, Mr. William Bendt.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center recently announced it has administered its 57,000th COVID-19 vaccine dose. The health care system began immunizations in December 2020 and has been utilizing available COVID-19 vaccinations to quickly get vaccinations to Veterans along the South Carolina and Georgia coast.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been focused on vaccinating as many Veterans as possible,” said Ralph H. Johnson VAMC Director and CEO Scott Isaacks. “Our vaccination clinics have been running smoothly and we’ve gotten some great feedback from our Veterans. As a health care system, we play a critical role in this public health crisis, and our team is committed to continuing to deliver vaccines to our community.”

The Ralph H. Johnson VAMC announced it has numerous appointments available and is providing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone who served in the military, their caregivers, spouses, and some other beneficiaries under the authority granted by the SAVE LIVES Act, signed by President Joe Biden March 24, 2021.

The expanded authority depends on readily available COVID-19 vaccine supplies and requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue to prioritize Veterans enrolled in VA care.

To maintain continued health and safety during the pandemic, please do not visit a VA facility for a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination, please call 843-789-6900.

While most of the vaccinations are happening at the North Charleston facility, shots are being administered at different locations to help serve their over 80,000 members.

“We’ve also have utilized our community based outpatient clinics. We have clinics in Myrtle Beach, Beaufort, Savannah and Hinesville, Georgia,” said Dr. Chris Blasy, Chief Medical Officer at the Ralph H. Johnson Medical Center. “We also have locations that provide serves to homeless veterans and we’ve also have done an outreach in Dorchester County at our more rural locations.”

Much like the civilian population retired military and veterans are wary of the shots but are taking getting vaccinated in larger numbers.

“I think we’ve had a really good response with our veterans, they have jumped onboard and really adopted the idea of getting the vaccine and they understand it’s for the benefit of them their family and our community,” said Blasy.

“I think the adoption in the veteran community has been very strong, obviously there are still some out there that obviously don’t want it or do have questions about it and we want to encourage them to reach to us and our primary care teams.”Veterans can also check www.charletson.va.gov for regular updates on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, including clinic dates and locations at the Charleston VAMC and community clinics. For more information on VA’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts, read the national news release and the VAntage Point Blog.