Poplar Bluff VA Medical Center starts vaccinating veterans against COVID-19

Poplar Bluff VA Medical Center starts vaccinating veterans against COVID-19

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Health care workers are now vaccinating veterans against coronavirus at John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff.

“It makes me feel good. I’ve gotta live six more months at least,” said Clemens Deken, a 99-year-old World War II veteran.

Dekens was one of 40 veterans scheduled to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on January 7.

“I was worried about it. Getting it soon enough or whether I should get it or not,” he said.

But so far, the vaccine clinic’s running smoothing, according to Chief Nurse Bailey Wells.

“We’ve had many show up early, so they’re very excited to get their vaccines. So far there have been absolutely no hiccups whatsoever. It’s been a very safe and efficient process, and we’ve had nothing but good outcomes today,” said Wells, chief nurse of Specialty Services and Daily Operations.

Health care personnel at the medical center who wanted to get the shot were the first to get vaccinated. Now, veterans 85 years and older are first in line. They will get their second dose of the vaccine 28 days from their first shot.

“The veterans have been so incredibly grateful, especially this first group of individuals. They’ve been very grateful to be considered a priority,” said Wells.

Over the next few weeks, staff will call registered veterans to get the shot. How soon that will happen depends on each veteran’s age and risk factors.

“So we’re trying to do it as quickly as possible and keep up with the demand and the supply of vaccine that we’re getting,” said Wells.

As of the morning of January 7, the medical center had 710 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. They expect weekly shipments moving forward.

If a veteran has any questions about the vaccination process, Wells recommended reaching out to their primary care doctor. She said they have plenty of resources to answer any questions.

Veterans enrolled with John J. Pershing VA Medical Center will get vaccinated first, according to Wells.

To enroll, call 573-686-4151.

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