A Veteran receiving care through the Joint Ambulatory Care Center (JACC) in Pensacola received the first dose of the COVID vaccine administered by the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (GCVHCS).
According to a press release from VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Joe L. Knight is a retired U.S. Army Veteran who served in the Korean War and three tours in Vietnam. He was the first non-employee Veteran in the Pensacola, Florida, area to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination through the agency.
GCVHCS Associate Director of Outpatient Operations Alicia Miller said it was an “honor” to provide a service member the vaccine.
“Mr. Knight has fought in some of our country’s greatest conflicts and providing him the tools to continue his fight today against this unseen enemy represents what we at the GCVHCS are all about – providing care for those who have served their country.”
COVID-19 vaccinations for veterans designated as high-risk are scheduled to begin distribution Jan. 12. Miller said the VA is working closely with the CDC and the Veterans Health Administration to protect front-line medical workers and those most vulnerable to the virus.
“We first provided vaccinations to our front-line health care workers and our Veterans residing in the Biloxi VA Medical Center Community Living Center [CLC] in Biloxi, Mississippi,” Miller said. “Our health care workers were among the first to receive vaccinations because they are at high risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 to other staff members and patients, and their health is critical to ensuring the continued care of our veterans.”
For civilians in Northwest Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that vaccinations will be available at Publix locations in the panhandle. Select locations from Escambia to Bay county will begin taking reservations on Wednesday and will start administering vaccines Thursday.
According to the Florida Department of Health’s daily report on Tuesday, there have been 648,353 people vaccinated in the state, and 51,234 have received both their first and second doses.
Veterans interested in receiving the vaccine are encouraged to complete the Keep Me Informed Form. Veterans can learn more about the VA’s plan for COVID-19 vaccination at the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team, or visit their facility website.