Local VA Starts Administering Vaccines To Veterans, Staff

Thursday, December 24th 2020, 5:18 pm

As more doses of the two COVID-19 vaccines arrive in the state, more priority groups are getting their shots.

The Eastern Oklahoma Veterans Affairs started giving vaccinations to their staff and veterans this week.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said 8,775 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines went directly to tribes and the Oklahoma VA. That's out of the 131,000 doses that have arrived in the state so far.

Video shows healthcare workers at the Eastern Oklahoma VA getting their first COVID-19 vaccinations this week. The facility is among 113 VA medical centers across the U.S. which are receiving the first supply of the Moderna vaccine.

"This is an awesome blessing, it's a miracle we're able to take these shots here, we're frontline workers, we've been in this fight for a long time, and I think it's the first step to eradicating this disease," nurse Josh Cloud said.

He said it's been nerve-wracking for those working with COVID-19 patients, not knowing if they could be spreading the virus outside of work to their families or others. The Department of Veteran's Affairs said they're starting with health-care personnel and high-risk veterans.

"It is me doing my part to do what we can to gain herd immunity, to protect other people and protect myself," nurse practitioner Vickie Holland said.

The VA said after those first two priority groups, they'll begin offering vaccines to more veterans who at at-risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19.

The Oklahoma City VA was among the 37 centers offering the Pfizer vaccine last week.

"I think we need to step up, take the shot and get done with this," Cloud said.

The VA said care teams will reach out to you when you're eligible for a vaccine to schedule an appointment.