NewsCovering Colorado

Actions

VA expanding vaccinations for Veterans: Here's what you need to know

Vaccinations are by appointment-only right now
VA Vaccine Distribution Plan
Posted at 12:47 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 15:03:56-05

SOUTHERN COLORADO — Starting January 16, the Veterans Administration will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine at the VA Clinic in Colorado Springs.

Michael Kilmer, the director for the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System is excited to announce that veterans in southern Colorado will no longer have to travel to Aurora for a vaccine.

However, phase 1B is only for veterans 75 and older who made appointments.

How soon will the VA be able to move onto the next vaccinate age bracket of veterans?

"My biggest unknown is I don't know the volume of vaccinations we'll be receiving," Kilmer said. "So today we're averaging about 1,100 vaccinations a week. My hope is that we can provide 1,000 vaccinations a day, but we're just not at that volume yet."

To put this data into perspective, there are approximately 11,000 veterans locally in the 75+ age bracket. If the VA is only able to vaccinate 1,100 veterans in this group each week, it will take approximately 10 weeks to get through this phase.

For veterans in different age brackets, there's nothing you need to do to "sign up" for the vaccine. Instead, the VA says they will call you to set up an appointment.

"It's very important that when we call our veterans that they answer the phone and schedule their appointment," Kilmer said. "We can't let appointment slots go to waste and we can't let our vaccines just sit in the refrigerator."

The VA also wants veterans to know they don't have to sit and wait for an appointment at one of their clinics. In fact, the VA says if you find an outside healthcare provider that can get you the vaccine sooner---go for it!

"My stepfather lives in a rural area of Washington State and he's going in through a state program in his community instead of waiting on the VA because he's able to get it faster," Kilmer said.

The vaccine is free whether you get it through the VA or another provider and the VA has provided a FAQ fact-sheet for more information on the distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Kilmer has also recorded the following video PSA for veterans.

If you have a story idea or question you'd like our News 5 Investigates team to look into as we navigate through this pandemic, please send an email to News5Investigates@KOAA.com.