Veterans begin receiving coronavirus vaccinations

Wave Staff Report

LOS ANGELES — The Veterans Administration’s Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline health care employees and veterans residing in long-term care community living and spinal cord injury and disorder centers last week.

The local veterans health care system is part of the initial group of 37 VA medical centers across the country that began receiving and administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The sites were chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.

“The Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System is proud to be a part of the initial 37 VA medical centers receiving the vaccine,” said Dr. Steven E. Braverman, director of the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System for the Veterans Administration. “We are dedicated to ensuring all veterans receiving care at VA and our employees are ultimately offered the vaccine.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that in clinical trials the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease. The vaccine is administered as a series of two doses, 21 days apart. The side effects appear similar to those of other vaccines and are short-lived.

COVID-19 vaccine implementation will include an initial limited-supply phase followed by a general implementation phase, when large supplies of the vaccine will be available.

As increased vaccine supply becomes available, VA plans to distribute these vaccines at additional facilities to offer the vaccine to more Veterans and employees.

The VA will report directly to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention data on all vaccine doses. The department also will provide general, public updates on the number of people who receive the vaccination at these sites, similar to how VA posts COVID-19 testing figures.

Veterans seeking additional information can sign up to get updated information through VA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Keep Me Informed tool, visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team, or visit their facility website.