MARION, IL — The Marion VA Medical Center is beginning COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine starting Wednesday Dec. 23, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the drug maker Emergency Use Authorization

“The Marion VA is eager to offer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel and our Veteran community living center and inpatient rehabilitation residents initially,” said U.S. Air Force Veteran and Public Affairs Office R. Todd Wright. “Receiving the vaccine is like having hope delivered. As vaccine supplies increase, our ultimate goal is to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

Wright says the Marion VA is one of 113 VA Medical Centers across the country to receive the first limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was sent to places based on need according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 1A prioritization and capacity to store the vaccine at -20C. 

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94% effective in clinical trials at preventing COVID-19 and, like the Pfizer vaccine, is also administered in two doses, 28 days apart. 

The VA says 37 medical centers began offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel and Veterans Dec. 14. Fifteen more VA facilities will get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. 

The VA is repeating what medical professionals across the country are saying — you should continue to wear face masks, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The VA says as vaccines become more available for groups of veterans, VA care teams will reach out to eligible veterans to schedule vaccinations. The VA says there is no need to preregister or come to a facility to sign up. 

Veterans can get up-to-date information on the VA's COVID-19 vaccine webpage and sign up for regular updates on the vaccine on the VA'S "Stay Informed" page. 

For more information, please contact R. Todd Wright, Public Affairs Officer at richard.wright9@va.gov or 618-694-6717.

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