The first Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were administered to Veterans

LOMA LINDA — Veterans at VA Loma Linda this week received a priceless and special life-saving gift and it did not come ribbon-wrapped or under a decorated tree. The first Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were administered to Veterans in the medical center’s Community Living Center (CLC).

Steven Welch was the first Veteran to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at VA Loma Linda. Welch served in the U.S. Air Force from 1979-1985, and he is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 92. “I still want to give back to America, and the VA,” said Welch. “The VA has done so much for me; I want to do whatever I can to show my appreciation of the healthcare workers and staff here at the VA.”

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines Given to VeteransWilliam King is a Vietnam Veteran and the second Veteran to receive the vaccine. King, who served in the U.S. Army from 1967-1970, said, “I got the vaccine to survive COVID.”

Theodore Hill was the third Veteran of the CLC group to receive the vaccine and wanted to receive the vaccine for safety precautions.

VA Loma Linda received an initial shipment of 2,500 vaccinations to administer to Veterans and staff at the healthcare system. Vaccines are being distributed according to the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for the Veterans Health Administration. VA Loma Linda is one of 113 VA Medical Centers across the country to receive the first limited supply of the Moderna vaccine. Sites were identified based on need for the vaccine according to CDC’s 1A prioritization and capacity to  store the vaccine at -20◦C. The facility is equipped with the ultra-cold freezer units needed to store the vaccines and plans on administering the shots over the next several weeks.

Lisa Contreras, Chief Nurse, Geriatrics said, “VA Loma Linda is ensuring the safety of our Veterans and our staff by providing the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. I am so proud of all the hard work the staff has done in order to keep our Veterans safe.”

After receiving COVID-19 vaccination, employees and Veterans should continue wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and washing hands often.

Vaccinations for Veterans will occur based on a national stratified prioritization.  Veterans will be called to schedule an appointment for vaccinations based on their priority group.  If there are questions about the vaccination or whether or not you should receive the vaccination, please contact your primary care provider.

Veterans seeking additional information can sign up to get updated information through VA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Keep Me Informed tool, visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team, or visit their facility website.

Image Sources

  • Veterans Receive COVID-19 vaccine: VA Loma Linda
  • Steven Welch: VA Loma Linda