VA Puget Sound Health Care System going on the road with drive-through COVID-19 vaccines

VA Puget Sound Health Care System is going on the road with drive-through COVID-19 vaccines as part of its Rural Health Initiative. The initial vaccine site at Little Creek Casino Resort over-flow parking lot in Shelton, Washington will take place on March 4, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Using its Mobile Medical Unit (which was supporting COVID-19 testing at its Seattle campus during the pandemic), VA Puget Sound plans to provide pre-scheduled (no unscheduled vaccines will be provided) first dose vaccinations to more than 100 eligible Veterans from that area.  

As part VA Puget’s Sound broader Rural Health Initiative, it is taking a modular approach to easily support more rural sites after the initial kick-off in Shelton. Along with its Mobile Medical Unit, it will be leveraging existing facilities in rural communities—such as VFWs—to set up physical vaccine clinics, and its Homeless Primary Care Team continues to focus on getting vaccines to home-based Veterans and to those who are homeless.

“Each vaccine brings hope, and we are committed to ensuring no Veteran is left behind,” said VA Puget Sound Director Michael Tadych. “We continue to work with our equity and special populations teams to identify Veteran populations who may not be able to come in for their vaccines and to those who may be hesitant to get the vaccine.”

While details continue to be worked out, next stop for VA Puget Sound’s Mobile Medical Unit will be in Chehalis and Aberdeen. Other areas under consideration for physical or mobile vaccine clinics are Mason, Grays Harbor, Island, Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Collaboration with organizations such as the Little Creek Casino Resort is essential.

“Consistent with Little Creek Casino Resort’s mission to be recognized by our Communities as a concerned and effective corporate citizen, we are honored to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs in providing a site to administer a mobile vaccination clinic for our veterans,” said Chairman of Squaxin Island Tribe Kris K. Peters. “While Little Creek Casino Resort’s contribution to this noble effort is nominal, we recognize the impact the vaccination clinic on the lives of our veterans is substantial to their health and well-being. We are honored to provide the vaccination site to our veterans and look forward to collaborating with the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in the future.”

Along with outreach through its Rural Health Initiative, VA Puget Sound announced to Veterans during its March 2, 2021 town hall, that it is now scheduling and administering COVID-19 vaccines to all ages of Veterans. It continues to proactively contact Veterans to make vaccine appointments and prioritize Veterans at high risk, who are older, have existing health problems, and those living in nursing homes or other group living facilities.

Whether vaccines take place at one of its vaccines clinics at Seattle, American Lake, Silverdale and Mount Vernon care sites or through its Mobile Medical Unit, appointments are required. No walk-ins.

As of today, VA Puget Sound has administered 15,968 initial dose vaccines and 6,682 completed vaccines to our Veterans. The number of doses administered to Veterans at each VA facility is updated daily on the VA COVID-19 National Summary website (https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary).

Since Washington state and VA vaccine eligibity phases may differ, VA Puget Sound is encouraging all Veterans to get a vaccine as soon as they are eligible, including through the Washington State Department of Health.  

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 150,000 Veterans enrolled across the Pacific Northwest. As the VA’s 5th largest research program, VA Puget Sound has research in virtually every major clinical department, including: TBI and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer's Disease; PTSD and deployment health; Parkinson’s Disease; diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; genomics; and Health Services. Additionally, it has seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). For more information visit www.pugetsound.va.gov.

Veterans with COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines questions should:

Call 206-716-5716 to schedule if they are eligible or contact their primary care team.
Call VA Puget Sound’s local Veteran COVID Vaccine Hotline—206-277-4040—to get daily updates about our current vaccine scheduling eligibility (recorded message only).
Visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/ and visit www.pugetsound.va.gov for our operational updates on COVID-19 and the vaccine. For all non-COVID-19 vaccine related health care concerns, Veterans are asked to call VA Puget Sound Call Center at 1-800-329-8387 or reach out to their primary care team.
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Note to editors: media interested in covering the March 4 drive-through vaccine clinic in Shelton should contact VA Puget Sound Communication Director Tami Begasse at PublicAffairsPugetSound@va.gov or 425.417.6929.

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