BALTIMORE — With Maryland now into Phase 1C of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, many veterans have been wondering where they can get the vaccine.
If they're enrolled in VA Healthcare, they can sign up right now to get the vaccine. If not, they can enroll by just going online or making a phone call.
So far, the VA Maryland Healthcare System has vaccinated 1,600 veterans and 1,400 are signed up to receive their vaccine this week.
They started vaccinating their veterans at the Baltimore Clinic, that opened up at the Cambridge Center last week and the Perry Point location this week. They plan to have all of their clinics open by the end of the week and vaccinating 800 veterans a day.
Dr. Sandra Marshall, the Chief of Staff for the VA Maryland Healthcare System, understands there is some hesitation from some about a new vaccine but is pleased most of their veterans have decided to get the vaccine. She said this is the most important took we have in this pandemic.
"We know that it’s safe and that it’s effective. We know that the experts have indicated that it will prevent individuals from getting COVID-19 so you want to protect yourself but probably more importantly the more of us that get vaccinated we’re going to be able to protect those other family members, friends, coworkers from them getting COVID-19," said Dr. Marshall.
She went on to say they make sure all of their veterans have time to review the paperwork by Pfizer and the FDA to make sure they understand what they're doing.
They have access to the Pfizer vaccine, which they give 21 days apart. The VA only has one rule for a veteran getting the vaccine: to not get another kind of vaccine two weeks before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, go to va.gov or call 410-605-7740.
To enroll in VA Healthcare, you can go to the same website or call 410-605-7324.
It's a quick and easy process. If you're not sure if you're eligible, you can still call to find out. You're encouraged to sign up sooner rather than later.
"There is a priority group based on state mandates, and federal mandates. Anyone over 65 right now is eligible for the vaccine but don’t wait until we get down until the lowest priority groups. Come in and enroll right now. We want you to apply for enrollment right now because once we get to those groups, you’ll be eligible and you’ll be in that much more quickly because everything done," said Sherry Early, the Chief of Medical Administration Services for VA Medical Services.