VA reaches milestone vaccinating its 1 millionth Veteran
WASHINGTON, February 17, 2021 - The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration vaccinated its 1 millionth Veteran with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are given 21 days after the first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine are given 28 days after the first dose — with second doses completing the full course of the vaccination.
VA began COVID-19 immunizations in December 2020. To date, VA has vaccinated 329,685 Veterans with a second dose.
VA’s COVID-19 National Summary publishes vaccination data daily on Veterans including information on employee and federal partner vaccinations. For those reviewing the site, when an individual receives both doses from VA, they have completed their vaccine course; therefore, “second dose” and “completed” are synonymous.
VA follows current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the VA COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan. During the limited supply phase, VA facilities have made progress through CDC Phase 1a and are offering vaccines to Veterans in Phase 1b, which includes Veterans aged 75 and older. However, some sites are offering a vaccine to additional Veterans at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as supply permits.
“VA guidance encourages local flexibility to maximize COVID-19 vaccine access and efficiency while limiting potential vaccine waste,” said Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, M.D. “In this limited supply phase, our COVID-19 vaccination strategy is balancing site-specific resources, facility needs, vaccine availability and status of the pandemic locally, as well as strict storage, handling and transportation parameters of available vaccines.”
The department’s goal is to offer vaccines to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated. VA is reaching out to Veterans who are eligible for vaccination. Veterans who would like additional information can visit the VA COVID-19 vaccines webpage, visit their local facility’s website or contact their care team.