By Graham Smithson
All veterans enrolled in the Veteran Affairs Health Care System are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 14,000 veterans have received their first dose of a vaccination as of last week, while an additional 6,500 veterans are fully immunized, according to Dr. Margie Scott of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. All Veteran Affairs community-based outpatient clinics now offer the vaccination for veterans 18 years and older.
“These veterans are used to following orders, so they followed COVID-19 protocols as the government directed them,” said Becca Effrein, a home-based primary care nurse practitioner for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.
Effrein has spent significant time educating patients about the vaccine.
“There was some initial hesitancy to the vaccine, but our veterans have done a great job seeking education, and the VA has done a good job to provide the education,” Effrein said.
Effrein cares for in-home veterans who cannot travel. To date, 80 percent of her patients are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition to veterans’ vaccination advancements, veteran caregivers are now eligible for a vaccination at local Veteran Affairs hospitals.