JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All veterans regardless of age who are enrolled with VA health care are now are eligible to receive a COVID19 vaccine.
VA Clinics have been giving vaccines to older veterans for months and expanded eligibility to essential workers and younger veterans with high-risk conditions last month.
Forty veterans received their second dose of the COVID19 vaccine at the Jacksonville VA Outpatient Clinic drive-thru vaccine drive on Friday.
Louis Coleman Jr., 72, served two years in the U.S Army.
“It didn’t even hurt. It wasn’t bad,” Coleman said. “I am just glad to get the shot. I got some relief off me.”
Curtis Coleman was a first sergeant in the Army and served just over 20 years.
“I am glad to get it because I have COPD,” he said. “Thank God. I can fight the virus now.”
Chief medical officer of Jacksonville VA Outpatient Clinics, Dr. Melinda Screws, said its part of continuing efforts to vaccinate as many veterans as possible.
“Like everybody else, we, of course, targeted our highest risk first and we feel we made really good progress there,” Screws said.
North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System serves more than 145,000 veterans over 50 counties.
“Within our local area, the JAX market we have about 47,000 enrolled,” Screws said.
Ken Baxter is a Vietnam veteran who spent four years in the Air Force.
“I know this has to take effect,” Baxter said. “Even with the vaccine, I am going to still wear the mask all the time. Just feeling a little bit more secure when I go out to do errands.”
The drive-thru vaccination site in Jacksonville is open Monday through Friday by appointment only.
On Saturday, March 6, there will be an indoor vaccine drive -- also by appointment only.
For appointments, call 352-548-6000 ext. 103755. For additional information on times and locations, visit northflorida.va.gov.
For no appointment vaccines, from March 9-12, veterans of all ages can get vaccinated at the American Legion Post #57 in Lake City.