COVID-19 Vaccinations for Western North Carolina VA Health Care System (Charles George, Franklin, Hickory, Rutherford)
Letter from the Acting WNCVAHCS Director - January 7th, 2021
As many of you are probably aware, the Western North Carolina VA Health Care System has received its first shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and is in the first stages of distribution.
Health Care System employees are currently working diligently to schedule our Veterans for the vaccination and have started by offering it to those Veterans and staff members who are most at-risk.
We will begin offering the vaccine to a wider range of Veterans who want the vaccine beginning next week.
Our current priority of patients is those over 75 years of age. This opportunity for vaccination will open to more Veterans as the vaccine becomes readily available.
Veterans don’t have to do anything.
Our staff will be reaching out to all eligible Veterans to schedule a time and date for the vaccine. It’s our goal to ensure all our Veterans who wish to receive the vaccine will be given the opportunity.
Immunizations for high-risk Veterans and staff is based on CDC guidelines, and includes the following criteria:
Risk of acquiring infection
Risk of severe illness and death
Risk of transmitting disease
Risk of harm to society (if essential workers, including health care personnel, are unable to work)
Based on these criteria, VA has first offered the vaccine to health care personnel working in the highest risk patient care settings as they are essential to providing continued care for patients throughout the pandemic. In addition to protecting our employees, vaccinating these individuals has several benefits, including:
Decreasing transmission to patients, who may be at high risk for severe disease if infected
Decreasing transmission to other health care workers
Promoting a stronger, healthier workforce to care for our Veterans
Our facility, along with VA medical centers across the country, completed tabletop exercises to prepare for the initial receipt and distribution of the vaccine.
Those exercises helped determine how we would schedule immunization for priority groups.
They also addressed ordering, storage, handling, and administration of the vaccine, to include determining how we would distribute immunizations based on the number of doses available.
I want to personally assure everyone that they will be afforded the opportunity to get the vaccine. We are working methodically and meticulously to ensure we can provide care for each one of you during this trying time.
Yours in Service,
Colleen M. Noe, Ph. D.
For additional information about the VA and the COVID-19 Vaccine, click here .