Birmingham VA expands COVID-19 vaccinations

Birmingham VA expands medical clinic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham VA Health Care System has teamed up with United Way to get COVID-19 shots into people’s arms faster.

Monday’s clinic is an expansion of what the Birmingham VA has been doing over the last three weeks, but leaders at the VA said they needed to be able to give out the vaccine faster and needed more space to do so, and the United Way was happy to open its doors.

L.C. Robinson, Jr. is an E4 Veteran. After hearing about the Birmingham VA vaccine clinic from his friend, he didn’t hesitate to make an appointment.

“COVID-19 is bad…you know…disease going through here and I’d like to do the best I can…you to be around and I think it’s the right thing to do,” Robinson said.

Mr. Robinson joined the hundreds of veterans aged 65 years or older who showed up at Monday’s COVID-19 clinic.

The Birmingham VA Health Care System said it has about 9,000 shots on hand and wants to get as many veterans vaccinated as it can this week.

“The number that are actually enrolled and use the VA Health Care is somewhere around 67,000, but you have to think about that if you’re going to move through that many people for first and second doses, you’re going to have to move at a pretty good clip to get there,” said Chief Executive Officer for the Birmingham VA Health Care System, Stacy Vasquez.

That’s why the Birmingham VA partnered with United Way, moving the clinics to United Way’s auditorium.

Now, about 1,200 veterans a day can get their COVID-19 shot.

“ADPH’s allocation comes in through the state and then it’s divvied up among all of the hospitals. Mine is a direct federal allocation, so I go through a different channel for the procurement and the distribution of the vaccine,” Vasquez said.

The Birmingham VA anticipates it will go through about 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.

Those who are eligible will need to make an appointment. They can do so by calling the Birmingham VA call center at (866) 487-4243…not the United Way.

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