VA announces, initiates COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for centers across country; Charleston VA waiting for Moderna vaccine

Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 11:23 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WMBF) - This week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which is meant to address the vaccination of frontline VA healthcare workers and veterans residing in long-term care units.

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These plans are being executed in 37 of its medical centers across the country. Officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs said they began vaccinating veterans and frontline employees within these medical centers this week with the Pfizer vaccine. None of South Carolina’s medical centers are included on this list.

According to the VA, the 37 sites selected were based upon “their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.”

In a statement sent to WMBF News, representatives with Charleston’s Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, which provides services to veterans in S.C. and Georgia, said that the center “expects to receive the Moderna vaccine once it is authorized by the FDA for Emergency Use. Our local Vaccine Taskforce has been preparing for months and developing a distribution plan to Veterans in our catchment area.”

An FDA advisory committee will be considering the Moderna vaccine on Thursday, which if recommended and issued an EUA by the FDA, could initiate a rollout of vaccine next week.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center said, “We have the proper equipment on hand and we are ready to distribute the vaccine as soon as it arrives at our medical center.”

The center said they also will follow the Department of Veterans Affairs distribution plan. Veterans can find more information on the plan and the vaccine here.

“The local vaccine task force is comprised of senior leaders, clinical and infection control experts, logistics management and frontline staff at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center,” the center said in an email.

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