BALTIMORE — The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration vaccinated its 1 millionth veteran with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The VA Maryland Health Care System has administered more than 9,700 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to local veterans and 2,700 second doses. The VA began COVID-19 immunizations in December 2020 and, as of February 17, VA has vaccinated 329,685 veterans with a second dose.
Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are given 21 days after the first dose, and second doses of the Moderna vaccine are given 28 days after the first dose. The second dose completes the course of vaccination.
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.
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 vaccine to additional Veterans at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as supply permits.
“VA guidance encourages local flexibility in order to maximize COVID-19 vaccine access and efficiency and limit 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."