VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Vietnam Veteran receives first COVID-19 vaccine
Vietnam Veteran Mark Maloney made history Wednesday as the first patient enrolled with VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (VA ECHCS) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center (RMR).
After spending three months in the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Unit (SCI), Maloney wants to encourage his fellow Veterans to get their vaccine too. “We can set the example,” he said.
Maloney, who served 22 years as a U.S. Army officer, said the needle poke was over before he knew it. “There’s a lot of Veterans out there and we’ve been through difficult periods and this is nothing.”
VA ECHCS is one of 37 VA sites to receive initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and was selected for their RMR’s ability to vaccinate a large number of people and store the vaccine at extremely cold temperatures.
Currently, VA ECHCS teams are working on providing the first wave of doses to the most vulnerable patients and employees, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
In time, VA ECHCS will offer free COVID-19 vaccination safely to all enrolled Veterans and employees who want it when supply becomes available. VA will be offering the vaccine to Veterans based on the prioritization guidelines outlined by the CDC and VA Central Office.
“We are excited to be one of the first VAs to receive the vaccine and are honored to be able to provide this service to our most vulnerable Veterans and employees," said VA ECHCS Director Michael Kilmer.
“It is the hope of so many, that this vaccine coupled with masking, physical distancing and frequent handwashing will help flatten the COVID-19 curve. We are hopeful to be a part of the solution.”
If you are a Veteran enrolled with VA ECHCS, you can stay informed about VA’s phased distribution plan and let us know your interest in receiving the vaccine. Sign up through VA’s 'Keep Me Informed' portal - https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed. You do not need to call us to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine. Care teams will contact you to schedule a free COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is a can-do situation,” Maloney added. “But when you do get the shot, still exercise care in wearing your mask, keeping distance and give careful thought about holiday get-togethers because you can conceivably save a life of your loved ones and even yourself.”