Veterans Affairs makes sure those who served this country get vaccinated


AUGUSTA Ga. (WJBF) – The Charlie Norwood VA opened its uptown vaccination clinic on Thursday to begin getting doses into thousands of arms.

“Ultimately, our long term goal is to vaccinate all of the 47,000 plus veterans that receive care here at the Charlie Norwood VA,” said Dr. Jennifer Blanchard a pharmacist there.

Around 5,000 Pfizer vaccines kicked off the newest clinic at the Charlie Norwood VA.

Dr. Blanchard explained how it’s all working now.

“As we administer those first doses, the second doses will start to come in a couple weeks later.”

Eligible and enrolled veterans seeking a shot go through a process; Phases Red, White and Blue. Most call. Others arrive and sign up, though Lt. Robert McMinn prefers vets call first. Both are given their COVID-19 vaccine that day.

“Currently, I have 18 vaccination stations set up and operational. I can expand that, if needed. Currently, we have the capacity to go to 900 to 1000 veteran vaccinations per day,” said Lt. McMinn, Active Duty Nurse Practitioner, U.S. Public Health Service.

The VA’s downtown location has a similar set up. It all started a month ago with a shipment of a thousand Pfizer doses. That’s when staff were among the first in town to begin getting the vaccine. Many of them have also completed their second doses.

“We’ve vaccinated almost 65 percent of our staff already completely and are working our way through the rest that are interested in the vaccine at this point,” Dr. Blanchard said.

She added VA leadership could extend vaccines to the public. But for now, it’s just for veterans and staff.

“The pandemic has ravaged our country. It’s ravaged our local area. We want to make sure that our veterans stay safe, everybody stay safe,” Lt. McMinn added.

Each veteran receives a vaccination card with vital information and in the corner the time the vaccination was given to make sure that the 15 minute monitoring happens. And on the back, the second dose information.

The VA’s vaccine is available to eligible and enrolled vets. The phone numbers are: 706-733-0188 ext. 3632 or 3634.

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