Greenbrier County VA Clinic hosts first off-site COVID-19 vaccine distribution for veterans

LEWISBURG, WV (WOAY) – Staff from the Beckley VAMC relocated to the Greenbrier County VA Clinic to administer 100 first-round doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Monday.

This was the first time that veterans were able to receive the vaccine outside of the Beckley location.

“Our pharmacists at Beckley prepared about 50 vaccines,” said Beckley VAMC Public Affairs Officer Sara Yoke. “That means they warm them up and they place them in syringes. Then they’re transported here. The syringes are put in bubble wrap for protection and then placed in a padded cooler.”

Upon arrival, veterans were screened at the front door to ensure that they have no symptoms for COVID-19. After waiting in the car for their appointment time, they were then escorted into the building to receive their vaccine injection.

“We call them to come in when it’s their turn,” said Beckley VAMC Incident Command Medical Officer Dr. Leah Jones. “They’re taken by a nurse, they get their vaccine. Then, we monitor them right here in the waiting room for 15 minutes to make sure that they haven’t had any bad reactions to the vaccine. Then, we let them head on their way.”

Despite the tall task of transporting vaccines from Beckley down to Lewisburg, the VAMC is excited to be able to vaccinate in a new location. The goal is to continue to expand to VA clinics around the area.

“It’s complicated because of the logistical challenges of preparing the vaccine, transporting it and then administering it on site,” Yoke said. “Just because of the short time span that it is viable.

“That creates some challenges, but we think it’s really important to make sure that we’re getting out to all of our counties and making this as widely available as possible.”