VA begins to administer COVID-19 vaccine

Staff report
Air Force veteran Frank Bell was the first veteran to receive the vaccine at the Leavenworth campus.

The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System has received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and began administering the shot Wednesday afternoon to patients and staff at its Leavenworth and Topeka medical centers.

VA representatives said 700 doses have arrived – 350 doses in Topeka and 350 doses in Leavenworth at the Eisenhower VA Medical Center.

Officials said the health care system will be getting 700 doses on weekly basis.

“We are proud of what we are doing for our veterans and staff,” said Rudy Klopfer, director of the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

Air Force veteran Frank Bell was the first veteran to receive the vaccine at the Leavenworth campus.

The vaccine will be administered on a priority basis based on guidelines set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first doses were administered to the VA’s most vulnerable patients living in the Community Living Center on the Leavenworth campus, as well as critical front-line staff.

The next round of doses will go to veteran patients who are 85 years old and over. The next round after that will be for veterans 75 years old and older.

“Even with this second vaccine, we’ll have a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccines for the next several months,” said Joe Burks, chief of communications and public relations at the VA. “We’ll continue to follow our phased plan for providing vaccines. Our goal is to do the most good for the most people. If you’re eligible to get a vaccine, your VA health care team will contact you. You don’t need to come to a VA facility to request or receive a vaccine until we contact you. Our staff can’t provide vaccines to anyone who isn’t eligible at this time. When more vaccines become available, we plan to offer a free COVID-19 vaccine to all veterans receiving VA health care who want one.”

For more information, visit www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine