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Vaccines open to enrolled Veterans age 55 and over

Gary Giorno, a Vietnam era Veteran in a black t-shirt and glasses looks straight ahead as he receives his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Gary Giorno, a Vietnam era Veteran, receives his second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Coatesville VA Medical Center vaccination clinic on March 12, 2021. Giorno shared his thoughts about the process during his observation period before checking out.

Coatesville VA Medical Center (VAMC) began offering the COVID-19 vaccine to Veterans age 55 and over on Monday.

The decision to lower the age of Veterans offered the COVID-19 vaccine from age 65 to 55 was based on the number of enrolled Veterans who have already been vaccinated.

More than 5,000 Veterans have received at least one dose of the vaccine meaning Coatesville VAMC has vaccinated more than 38 percent of the population of the Veterans in their care.

All vaccinations are delivered by a scheduled appointment. Veterans age 55 or over and enrolled with Coatesville VAMC who wish to schedule an appointment may dial the call center at (610) 383-0239.

Steadily delivering vaccines through scheduled appointments creates a controlled environment that provides a very different experience than what Veterans may anticipate.

"I was not going to stand in any line for five hours to get a vaccine," said Gary Giorno, a Vietnam era Veteran and Montgomery County resident.

Giorno, registered his interest in receiving the vaccine using the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Keep me Informed tool. When he later received a text message offering several different appointment times, he accepted one of them.

"The whole thing is really very professionally done. Very efficient," said Giorno. "I can't say enough good things about it. I was impressed with the whole procedure."

Giorno received the second dose of the Moderna vaccine last Friday and he is not alone in being surprised at the vaccination experience.

Michelle Young, Coatesville VAMC Facility Vaccine Coordinator, spends her days in the vaccine clinic where Veterans freely share their thoughts about the process.

"Nearly every Veteran I speak to goes out of their way to make sure we know how impressed and surprised they are at how quick and how well organized our clinic is," said Young. "Hearing the positive feedback is encouraging for the vaccination team who has been working so hard to make sure every dose we receive gets into an eligible arm."

If you are enrolled with the VA and wish to receive vaccine information updates and indicate your interest in receiving the vaccine, then register through VA's Keep me Informed tool.

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