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Amarillo VA Healthcare system to vaccinate veterans in surrounding rural communities

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 10:02 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo VA now has the ambulance needed to transport the COVID-19 vaccine at the required temperature.

They will be sending 100 Moderna vaccines to Childress area veterans. This clinic will take place Wednesday, March 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon at the Elk Lodge in Childress.

Since this is the first vaccine clinic for veterans in this area, nurses helping tomorrow say all the veterans they have spoken with are elated.

“All of our veterans are really excited that we are bringing it to them. They are really excited that they don’t have to go to Amarillo or Lubbock or any of those places,” said Tyra DeLeon, Assistant Nurse Manager at the Childress VA Clinic “Most of these veterans are unable to travel or unable to travel long distances due to health conditions or things like that, so they are excited they can get it in this area and don’t have to go anywhere else.”

The effort doesn’t stop with Childress. Another clinic for Clovis area veterans is set for Thursday, March 3rd.

However, the details for it are not yet set. Veterans interested in either clinic must call the Amarillo VA at (806) 355-9703 and press option two to make an appointment before going.

Rural areas in the Panhandle have struggled to receive vaccines, and the closest hubs are in Amarillo and Dalhart.

Today, the DSHS said they are not opening any more hubs but are increasing their allocation to clinics in rural areas.

So far, the state has distributed 4.5 million doses of the vaccine, but were affected by the recent winter weather.

“Essentially we lost about seven days,” said Imelda Garcia, Associate Commissioner of Laboratory and Infectious Disease Services for the Texas Department of State Health Services

Garcia adds so far 1,000 vaccines reportedly expired due to the weather, but says they now expect a big allocation this week.

“We have received a flood of vaccine in the last couple of days, as a bulk of vaccine from last week and all of the vaccine from this week continue to arrive,” said Garcia “So, based on the latest federal shipping information, virtually all of the vaccine should be at providers doors by the end of the day.”

She adds the FDA’s advisory committee is set to meet this week to make recommendations on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This means if approved, there could be a third vaccine rolling out by the end of the week.

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