IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WJMN) – Oscar G Johnson VA Medical Center will offer veterans and employees Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. They say the safety and care of veterans and their workforce are top priorities for the Department of Veterans of Affairs.
This decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for a booster dose of the Moderna or J&J vaccine.
The VA says, while the initial series of vaccines remain highly effective in reducing the likelihood of infection and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, or death among those infected, the purpose of this booster shot is to “boost” antibody protection when it has decreased over time.
For those who completed a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at least six months after their second dose:
· 65 years and older
· Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings.
· Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions.
· Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.
For those who had a J&J COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated at least two months ago.
Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center and its Community-based Outpatient Clinics will have scheduled vaccine clinics on the following dates and local times:
· Iron Mountain (main facility) – November 6, 8a.m. – 4p.m.
· Sault Ste. Marie – November 12, 10a.m. – 2p.m.
· Rhinelander, Wisconsin – November 13, 8a.m. – 4p.m.
· Marquette – November 13, 8a.m. – 4p.m.
· Menominee – November 19, 8a.m. – 12p.m.
· Hancock – November 20, 8a.m. – 2 p.m.
· Manistique – November 23, 9a.m. – 2p.m.
· Ironwood – November 26, 8a.m. – 12p.m.
· Gladstone – November 26, 9a.m. – 2p.m.
Veterans can be scheduled for a vaccine booster by calling 906-774-3300 ext. 33115 weekdays between the hours of 8a.m. and 4:30p.m. Everyone is asked to bring the record of their completed round of initial doses.
“Vaccines remain the best way of protecting our staff and the veteran community against COVID-19,” said Jim Rice, medical center director. “The expanded FDA and CDC recommendations regarding booster shots allow us to better protect those at higher risk, as well as our community at large.”
Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
VA is also offering the booster to veterans, their spouses, caregivers and CHAMPVA recipients under the authority of the SAVE LIVES Act, as supply and capacity permits. The Save Lives Act authorizes VA to offer vaccine to veterans not traditionally eligible for VHA care, and others including spouses and caregivers of veterans. Those who received a vaccine under authorization of the SAVE LIVES Act and are due for a booster shot may do so in VA if supply permits.
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