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COVID-19 Safety Measures and Information

In Case of Emergency: If you are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911 or visit an emergency room closest to you. All urgent and emergency care options are open for in-person care, including mental health care.

COVID Risk Banner: Health Protection Level RED

Bivalent COVID Vaccine Boosters

As of September 21, 2022, the Birmingham VA will be offering the Bivalent COVID Vaccine Boosters. Please call 205-933-8101 ext. 333004, or for Huntsville call 256-533-8477, to schedule an appointment.

Should I get the booster? We recommend that individuals who have completed a primary series and whose last shot was at least 2 months ago get the new Bivalent COVID Vaccine booster. It protects against the original COVID variant and the more common Omicron variant. Receiving an updated booster will ensure that you are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Staying up to date offers protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19. 

What is a Bivalent COVID Vaccine Booster and what’s different from original COVID Vaccines? These new bivalent boosters protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. The COVID vaccines you’ve had (or heard about) before only gave protection against the original COVID-19 virus. We will be offering Pfizer’s bivalent COVID booster.

What about other COVID vaccines that were called boosters? The other boosters only offered protection against the original COVID variant. This new bivalent COVID vaccine gives protection from the original COVID virus as well as Omicron variant. The new bivalent COVID Vaccines will now be the only vaccines available as boosters.

Where and when can I get Bivalent COVID Vaccine Booster? If you are a Veteran, spouse, caregiver, or a VA employee, you can come to either of our two locations to get the Pfizer bivalent COVID booster.

  • Birmingham VA Annex, 2415 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233 on Mondays through Fridays, 0800-3:00 PM, starting on September 21, 2022.
  • Huntsville CBOC, 500 Markaview Drive, Huntsville AL 35805 starting later this month.

Do I need an appointment? We recommend you make an appointment. For Birmingham, please call 205-933-8101 x 333004. For Huntsville, please call 256-533-8477.

Who recommends Bivalent COVID Vaccine Booster? The Bivalent COVID vaccine booster received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Veterans Health Administration.

What about getting the flu vaccine?  Birmingham VAHCS does not yet have the flu vaccine in stock. We expect to receive by late September. We recommend you take the flu shot this season, as well as getting the COVID vaccine to offer protection from both infections. You can even take the flu shot and the booster on the same day!


 

Graphic showing the proper way to wear a mask.

Visitation Guidance

The following guidelines are in place to limit the number of people inside the medical center and our Veterans clinics. These restrictions are necessary to protect Veterans in the medical center and health care staff.

  • One caregiver at-a-time for inpatients and one caregiver for each outpatient visit.  Exceptions to one caregiver will be at the discretion of the clinical care team. 

Treatment options and VA Virtual Care

NOTE: Several medications are now available for outpatients recently diagnosed with COVID-19. These medicines have been shown to decrease the need for hospitalization in patients with mild COVID who are at high risk of developing severe disease. Ask your provider about these medications if you are diagnosed with COVID.

Face-to-face appointments are available, and virtual care is always an option for Veterans who prefer it. Your VA provider may recommend postponing appointments and procedures that may put you at higher risk of getting COVID-19.

Talk to your VA care team members about your treatment options and the precautions being taken to safeguard your health. Contact your VA provider using My HealtheVet Secure Messaging, or call 866-487-4243 to speak to a telephone triage nurse.

You can also talk to one of the patient advocates from Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central Time at 205-933-8101 -

  • Birmingham VA Hospital : ext. 334740 or ext. 336984
  • Huntsville Clinic: ext. 414043
  • Birmingham Clinic:  ext. 333844
Image of person using mobile device for virtual care

Preparing for Your In-Person Visit

Your safety is our mission. We have precautions in place to protect Veterans and VA employees. All visitors to Birmingham VA facilities are required to follow the 3 W’s: 

  1. Wear a face covering.
  2. Watch your distance (stay 6 feet apart).
  3. Wash your hands.

Please note that all facility visitors — even those who have been fully vaccinated — must wear a face covering. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that everyone wear a face covering in health care settings. And although state and local rules have changed, the national VA face covering policy remains in place to protect the safety of Veterans, family members, and employees at all VA medical facilities. If you don’t have a face covering or forgot yours at home, we will provide you with one.

Please observe the following rules during your visit:

  • COVID-19 Screening: Please note that a member of our staff will check your temperature before you may enter the building. Some procedures require a COVID-19 test before your visit.
  • Shuttle Procedures: Veterans who use the shuttle from the Birmingham VA parking deck will be screened for COVID-19 risk before boarding the shuttle. Shuttles will operate at 50% capacity, and all passengers are required to wear a face covering and observe physical distancing rules while on board the shuttle.

Thank you for helping us keep Birmingham VA Health Care System facilities safe for everyone.

For at-home COVID testing please visit this website: www.COVIDtests.gov