Hines VA Hospital is now providing the COVID-19 vaccine to non-enrolled veterans and veterans’ spouses on a “walk-in” basis on days when enough vaccine doses are available.
Last week, President Joe Biden signed into a law the Saves Lives Act, which allows the VA to vaccinate all veterans, as well as their spouses and caregivers, regardless of the VA eligibility. Previously, only veterans enrolled in VA heath care were eligible.
According to Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Jacob Zimmerman, information is still limited at this time and the ability to schedule those vaccinations is not yet available. However, non-enrolled veterans and their spouses can go to Hines VA Hospital on a “walk-in” basis to receive the vaccine.
Zimmerman emphasized the information is subject to change and Hines’ ability to distribute vaccine to walk-ins is based on vaccine supply and room capacity.
40,000 VA Vaccinations And Counting
On Friday, March 26, 2021, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital celebrated its 40,000th vaccination given, calling that achievement a milestone in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hines has been delivering the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since Dec. 15, before any other VA in the region. Notably, the 40,000th shot milestone also coincides with the 100th day Hines has been vaccinating veterans.
Officials say the vaccination effort has not been without its challenges.
“Logistics, vaccine supply, training and long hours have made it an all-hands on deck experience, with hundreds of Hines staff contributing to its success,” officials said in a Friday news release.
In addition to the large outpatient clinic in the auditorium on the Hines main campus, significant outreach has been done with Hines’ Community Based Outpatient Clinics, Home Based Primary Care patients and homeless Veterans.
Cristine Mabrito, associate chief of Patient Administration Service, said the vaccination efforts have been challenging but satisfying.
“Each veteran brings their own story when they come to Hines for their vaccine, but one couple still stands out in my mind. One Saturday, I was working in the vaccine clinic, and a couple approached me – a husband and wife, both Veterans – for their vaccines.
“They talked to me a few minutes when they checked in how they have done everything together, and they shared they were going to ‘stomp out’ COVID together by getting vaccinated. The wife also shared with me she was a nurse at Hines, so she was proud to return to Hines to get vaccinated.
“I found a nurse who had a larger vaccinating station, and she administrated vaccines to both the husband and wife while they sat together. I was really moved by their story and their excitement.”
With Congress expanding VA’s ability to provide vaccines to the country’s veteran population, Mabrito said the vaccination work has just begun.
“The new (Act) will bring more veterans and their spouses into VAs across the country,” she said. “This is a unique opportunity to provide great customer service, share by first-hand account how wonderful the VA is, and I look at this as a veteran outreach opportunity to educate veterans on VA Healthcare and potentially provide access for new Veterans who may not have known they were eligible for VA services.
“One of the most exciting aspects on increasing access to the vaccine will help our country improve their physical and mental wellbeing as we all work toward a new normal.”
For the latest information on Hines VA Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic, see https://www.facebook.com/HinesVAHospital.
SOURCE: Hines VA Hospital, Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission
Hines VA on Facebook
Friendly reminder: Hines is vaccinating ALL VETERANS that are enrolled in VA healthcare. There is no longer an age…