Birmingham VA Medical Center preparing to give COVID-19 vaccine to front-line workers, veterans

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham VA Medical Center is one of 37 Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country selected to distribute the coronavirus vaccine at it’s facility this week. Health officials there say they are expecting the vaccine’s arrival on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Officials at the Birmingham VA said that with cases so high in Alabama, they are grateful they were selected as among the first VA centers to administer the coronavirus vaccine. The center is expecting to receive nearly 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Health care workers will be among the first priority group to receive coronavirus vaccinations. However, officials say with only 1,000 original doses given to them immediately, it will not be enough to cover there more than 3,000 employees. The medical center will start by administering the vaccine to front line workers who have high contact with coronavirus patients.

Stacy Vasquez, CEO of the Birmingham VA Medical Center, said they are getting mixed reviews from veterans as well as their health care workers regarding taking the vaccine.

“After you get the dose, you are going to wait for 15 minutes and you’re going to watch and if there is any other effects after that. And the side effects have been very minor of what they have seen out there. We have a reporting system where we’ll bring all those together and make sure we aren’t seeing something we wouldn’t expect,” Vasquez said.

State health officials expect to receive weekly distributions of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccine is not expected to be available to the general public until this spring or summer.


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