LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Lexington VA Health Care System (LVAHCS) made about 200 Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines available to the military community during a pop-up vaccination clinic on Saturday.
The vaccine clinic held in Lawrenceburg, Ky. is part of a partnership between Walmart and the LVAHCS to reach Kentucky’s veterans, their spouses, partners, and caregivers.
Veteran’s Club President Jeremy Harrell was among those rolling up his sleeve to get the shot.
“I just decided that I've done this before, right? I've signed the dotted line to protect people, and this here today is no different. It's an opportunity to protect people close to me, and people that I'll run into,” Harrell said.
Vaccines were first made available to veterans in December.
Harrel said he had mixed feelings about getting vaccinated, but he has changed his mind after contracting COVID-19.
“I recognize that I don’t want it twice,” he said. “My wife hasn't been hasn't had COVID-19 yet, and neither have my kids. I want to keep that streak going.”
Harrel is an Army veteran. He said his military background played a role in his hesitation.
“We have often believed that we were kind of like the test subjects of some of these vaccinations throughout time,” he said.
In a survey conducted by Blue Star Families, 53-percent of active-duty families said they did not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine, citing safety concerns and distrust in vaccine development.
The LVAHCS is working to address a vaccine-hesitant community by expanding vaccination opportunities and through the help of people like Harrell.
“We have to recognize that with anything comes risk, whether it's a good thing or in regards to COVID it's a not so good thing, but there's a peace of mind and you can't put a price tag on that,” Harrell said.
Enrollment is not required to receive a vaccine through one of the LVAHCS’s clinics.
Those eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine from the VA include:
- Caregivers: a family member or friend who provides care to a Veteran. Caregivers may help the Veteran with personal needs like feeding, bathing, or dressing. They may also help the Veteran with tasks like shopping or transportation.
- Spouses: A spouse includes marriage, legal and common-law marriages. If you characterize your relationship as spousal, you can receive the vaccine. A spouse includes a widow and a widower of a Veteran.
- Veteran: Anyone who served in the U.S. military is eligible to be vaccinated through VA
You can find more information on upcoming clinics here.