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Cheyenne Derksen: Ask Hutch: Is the VA offering vaccines to veterans? Who picks who can get it?
The Hutchinson News - 2/1/2021
Feb. 1—This week, readers had questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Makes sense.
Does the local VA give the virus shot to qualified Veterans?
According to the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita, veterans enrolled for VA health care are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at VA medical facilities.
They are currently offering vaccinations to veterans who fall into high-risk categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Veterans Health Administration, and those age 75 and over.
As vaccine supplies increase, VA care teams will contact more groups of veterans to schedule vaccinations.
"Our ultimate goal is to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all Veterans who want to be vaccinated," replied the medical center in an email.
Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA's VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine, and sign up to receive regular updates on the vaccine on the VA's Stay Informed page at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.
More information can also be obtained through the VA's COVID-19 hotline by dialing 1-800-myVA411 and select 8 from the menu for COVID information.
Who is in charge of the triage at the Reno County Health Dept. when it comes to deciding who gets the vaccine?
The Reno County Health Department is following recommendations set in place by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which is led by Secretary Lee Norman, MD. So the local choices are made by a team of healthcare professionals at the health department and doctors working at area providers.
Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not currently mandated in Kansas, but it is being given first to people in most at-risk groups or to those with significant exposure, like nurses.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been created to decrease death and severe illness in our communities.
Although a high percentage of people recover from COVID-19, the KDHE reports that some are hospitalized and experience severe illness. It is also somewhat common to have the virus but never experience symptoms, and it's possible to spread the virus to others even when symptoms are not present.
When you make the choice to be vaccinated, you are protecting not only yourself but also those around you from the chance of death and severe illness.
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