COVID-19 vaccines and testing
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage you to get your vaccine as soon as you can. It’s the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community against COVID-19. This is especially important as new forms (or “variants”) of the coronavirus spread more quickly in the U.S.
Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System COVID-19 Vaccine Information
COVID-19 vaccines are available at all of our VA Outpatient Clinics by appointment and at the main medical center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
To schedule, call 843-789-6500. Walk-ins are also welcome at the main medical center located at 109 Bee Street in downtown Charleston (in the DD Building at the West (ER) Entrance)
- Savannah: 1170 Shawnee Street, Savannah, GA
- Hinesville: 500 East Oglethorpe Highway, Hinesville, GA
- Myrtle Beach: 1800 Airpark Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC
- Beaufort: 1 Pinckney Blvd., Beaufort, SC
- North Charleston: 6450 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, SC
- Goose Creek: 2418 NNPTC Cir., Goose Creek, SC
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots
Starting immediately, The Ralph H. Johnson VAHCS will offer Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine boosters. This decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement authorizing a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations.
For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:
- 65 years and older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
For individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 2 months or more after their initial series:
- Age 18+
COVID-19 Booster 4th Dose
You can now get a second booster at least 4 months after your first booster if any of these descriptions are true for you:
- You’re at least 50 years old, or
- You had the Janssen (J&J) vaccine for both your primary vaccine and your booster, or
- You’re moderately to severely immunocompromised
You can choose either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for your second booster
How do I schedule an appointment? We ask that Veterans please call 843-789-6500 to schedule their booster shot.
More Information on Booster Shots:
There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get a booster shot?
The initial vaccine series remains effective in reducing the likelihood of infection and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, or death among those infected. The purpose of a booster is to “boost” antibody protection back up when it has decreased over time.
Can I get the flu shot at the same appointment as my COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes! Flu vaccines are mandatory for all staff (and highly recommended for Veterans) and can be given during your same visit for COVID-19 vaccination.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant or have recently been?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination before, during or after pregnancy. Pregnant or recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 have a higher risk of delivering prematurely. They also may have a higher risk of other negative pregnancy outcomes. According to the CDC, the benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks for pregnant people.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am currently breastfeeding?
Yes. In addition to protecting the breastfeeding person who receives the COVID-19 vaccine, doing so may also protect the baby.
COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, but breastfeeding people who received mRNA vaccines such as the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines have been found to possess protective antibodies in their breast milk. These antibodies may help protect babies against COVID-19.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I plan to conceive in the future?
Yes. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines will affect one’s ability to conceive.
Experts such as those at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that people planning to become pregnant should “feel confident” that choosing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will not harm their ability to conceive in the future.
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We remain deeply dedicated to the safety of our employees and Veterans. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we work together to end this pandemic and keep our Veterans safe.
To get the latest updates and sign up to stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines, visit our vaccine information page.
Charleston VAMC offers COVID-19 testing to Veterans enrolled in VA health care.
Appointments are required. Patience is appreciated while coordinating staff and accommodating previously scheduled appointments.
Veterans who have been exposed to COVID 19 and are seeking a test, we request that you wait at least 2 days – following the exposure – to be tested.
You can also order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests at COVIDtests.gov, or by calling 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). Order tests now so you have them when you need them. Learn more about COVID-19 testing at VA.