WNC VA system issues COVID-19 vaccination update

Press release from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

The Western North Carolina VA Health Care System — which includes Charles George VA Medical Center and the Rutherford County, Hickory and Franklin CBOCS — is working diligently to offer and administer the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible to VA employees and veterans who receive care at VA and who meet current CDC guidelines.

To date, the Health Care System has provided almost 4,500 first doses and more than 1,500 second doses.

The CDC is currently providing vaccine allotments weekly to the VA as well as other civilian healthcare systems as supply becomes available from the manufacturers.  We have seen that as manufacturer supply increases, so does the VA portion of these weekly vaccine allotments.

The distribution of vaccine supply across the nation’s VA facilities is determined by several factors including:

  • The number of higher-risk veterans and healthcare workers in a geographic area (with risk stratification based on CDC and federal guidance),
  • The number of veterans receiving VA healthcare in a geographic area, and
  • A VA facility’s ability to properly handle and store the Pfizer and Moderna products, which each have special cold-chain requirements.

The North Carolina and Virginia VA facilities have consistently received approximately 5 percent of the VA’s total weekly allotment.  Of the VA’s 18 regional territories, only three area networks have received a larger portion of vaccine allocation due to veterans served in those areas.

Initial vaccines for North Carolina and Virginia were delivered to three VA locations: Durham, Richmond, and Salisbury Medical Centers.  Those facilities were the only sites within our area with special freezers capable of storing Pfizer vaccine.  Two weeks following, the Moderna vaccines were approved for use by the FDA.  Use of the Moderna vaccines allowed for distribution to all region’s other main VA facilities, including Asheville, Fayetteville, Hampton and Salem.

As weekly allotments have increased, we have been able to expand access to Veterans at outlying clinics and progress in moving along the risk stratification guidelines.  Because of the unique Veterans serviced within each VA facility, movement in the risk stratification guidance may vary slightly from location to location.  However, each week the Veteran needs versus the CDC allotment are re-evaluated to ensure the VA is meeting its goal to do the most good for the most people during this time.

To learn more about CDC vaccination guidelines, please visit: When Vaccine is Limited, Who Should Get Vaccinated First? | CDC

Veterans wanting to stay informed can do so at this link.

By filling out all the information fields, it lets WNC VA Health Care System health care professionals know veterans are interested in getting the vaccine. There is no need for veterans to do anything else. Our health care professionals will contact them to set up an appointment based on current CDC guidelines. 

Thank you for your patience and trusting us for your health care.

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