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Fargo VA Health Care System COVID-19 Precautions and Vaccine Information

Fargo VA Health Care System COVID-19 Precautions and Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Vaccine – The following groups are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations provided by VA:

- All categories of Veterans regardless of Character of Discharge, income, enrollment, or any other factor – ANYONE who served in the U.S. military is eligible to be vaccinated through VA.

- Spouses of a Veteran – For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, we define a spouse to include marriage, same-sex, and common-law marriages. This includes a widow or widower of a Veteran. If your relationship is/was spousal, you can receive the vaccine.

- Caregivers of a Veteran – For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, we define a caregiver as 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.

- Recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits.

If you’re interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please call the Fargo VA at 800-410-9723 or (701) 239-3700, select option 2, then select option 1 primary care scheduling, to inquire about vaccine appointment locations – perhaps at a location near you – and options. Hours of operation for this phone line are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Central Time. COVID-19 vaccine appointments and walk-ins are available Monday through Friday at the Fargo VA Medical Center and its Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. The Devils Lake, Grafton, and Jamestown CBOCs currently don’t have the vaccine stocked but you may still call to schedule an appointment. If you’ve already received your COVID-19 vaccination from a non-VA provider or location, please let your VA healthcare team know to help us in our vaccine planning.

Based on evidence from clinical trials, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were highly effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who were fully vaccinated (defined as two doses of Moderna or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and had no evidence of being previously infected. Vaccines slow the spread of the coronavirus, protecting our families, friends, and neighbors. The Moderna vaccine must be given in two doses to be fully effective. Your second dose should be given 28 days after your first dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose vaccination. Both are available at the Fargo VA Health Care System.

The new Delta variant mostly impacts those who are either unvaccinated or have only received the first of two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The good news is the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States offer good protection against the COVID-19 causing virus variants we know the most about. Thus, full vaccination can prevent unnecessary deaths and hospitalizations.

The Fargo VA Health Care System also continues to actively contact Veterans across North Dakota and northwest Minnesota directly to schedule appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Fargo VA Health Care System's number one priority is to provide services in an environment that is safe for our Veterans and staff. We continue to screen everyone entering our facilities for coronavirus to ensure minimum exposure to you, your caregivers, and our staff.

If you’re a Veteran seeking medical care, call before visiting (701-239-3700). You can also sign in to My HealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov) and send a secure message to your Primary Care Team. You may be able to get diagnosed and receive care through VA telehealth without having to come in at all. Appointments currently scheduled as some type of telehealth will remain this way unless you instruct us otherwise.

We continue to ask that you not bring any additional people to your outpatient medical appointments unless they're required to assist with your transportation or medical care. We’re allowing walk-ins only for the designated walk-in clinic and for urgent and emergent issues. Individual departments and clinics in primary care and specialty medicine are not taking walk-ins. Regardless of the scenario, Veterans who are seeking medical care are highly encouraged to call before visiting (701-239-3700). Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. You may be asked to wait in our front lobby, rather than in the clinic area, to enhance our ability to social distance.

All staff, patients, visitors, and anyone else entering Fargo VA Health Care System facilities – to include our CBOCs – is required to wear a face covering, mask, or face shield. Everyone who enters a Fargo VA Health Care System facility will be provided a mask or face shield, if they do not already have one, at the entrances when they are screened. If you're unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, you will be provided a face shield. If you currently have your own face covering, we encourage you to wear it when entering our facilities.

You may be tested for COVID-19 within VA and we may ask you to distance yourself from others while waiting for your results. Please be sure to inform your VA provider if you receive a COVID-19 diagnostic test outside of VA. You and your provider will discuss your treatment options and overall health status while COVID-19 safety restrictions still exist. You will discuss the risks of certain treatments or procedures, taking into account your overall health status, risk for complications, and urgency of the considered treatment.

Only one visitor or companion per Veteran is allowed in our facilities for Veterans who require assistance for outpatient visits. We’re allowing one visitor in our inpatient departments, although visitation to the Community Living Center may be restricted depending on current COVID-19 activity in the community. Please call ahead before your visit to the Community Living Center. Thank you to all our visitors and Veterans for helping us protect the safety of everyone within our facilities.

Stay current on our COVID-19 information and operations by visiting our website at www.fargo.va.gov or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

More information about online tools for Veterans:

Through VA’s virtual care tools, we’re able to leverage available technology to make sure our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time. To help us address our Veterans’ most-urgent needs first, we ask that Veterans use our online tools for routine or non-urgent questions. Here are some examples:

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans can receive care at home – either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. To learn more about VA Video Connect, visit mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.

Prescription Refills – Veterans can request prescription refills and order and ship medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps Veterans monitor for symptoms and can assist if they need to contact their VA facility for care. Enroll at mobile.va.gov/annie.

Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to your VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov.

For more information about VA’s Connected Care technologies, visit www.connectedcare.va.gov.

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