Central Texas VA begins vaccinating Veterans 85 years of age and older

Special to the Bulletin
Army Veteran Joe Poe was the first Central Texas Veterans Health Care System patient to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at the Olin E. Teague Veterans' Medical Center Community Living Center, on December 22, 2020.

TEMPLE  – The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System has begun offering Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to all enrolled Veterans 85 years of age and older.

“Large scale vaccination is the key to ending the disruption of the COVID-19 virus. My team will not rest until we have vaccinated every Veteran enrolled in our health care system who wishes to be immunized,” said Medical Center Director Michael L. Kiefer. “We have several thousand doses for Veterans 85 and older; however, if unused, we will expand to younger Veterans.”

The week of Christmas, the Central Texas VA received its initial supply of vaccine. Staff immediately began vaccinating Veterans residing in the facility’s community living center and high-risk employees per the prioritization determined by CDC and VA. As of January 6, almost 1,800 employees and 100 Veterans had been inoculated. 

Now, Veterans 85 years and older are being contacted by VA staff to schedule vaccine appointments at VA’s Waco, Temple, and Austin campuses. The roll-out process will expand in accordance with the CDC prioritization schedule and availability of vaccine.

Proper identification is required to verify VA enrollment and scheduling for the second dose, which is administered approximately 21 days after the first.  Both vaccines are required for maximum efficacy. Vaccinations available at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System are only for enrolled Veterans; not caregivers or family members. 

The most common side effects for the Moderna vaccine are injection site pain, fatigue, and headache. Any side effects usually disappear within 48 hours. Clinical staff are available for assistance throughout the vaccination process. 

Veterans may receive the latest information and sign-up for updates on VA’s COVID Vaccine webpage.