COVID-19 vaccines and testing
Those who are eligible to receive their COVID-19 Vaccine or Boosters are encouraged to call 352-548-6000 ext. 103755 to schedule an appointment. Please make sure to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card with you. Testing is also available via appointment.
North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System is offering Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to all patients enrolled for care.
Initial Series Requirements: All adults over the age of 18.
Bivalent Boosters: Individuals 18 years and older who completed primary series vaccination with two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago, or with a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago. People who received a booster dose at least 2 months ago are also eligible. These individuals can choose either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 updated booster.
Veterans can opt to receive the vaccine at one of our sites of care by calling to schedule an appointment at 352-548-6000, extension 103755.
COVID-19 Operational Plan, Safety Precautions & Visitation
At the North Florida/ South Georgia Veterans Health System (NF/SGVHS), safety is ingrained in our culture and the foundation of everything we do. We have updated our safety measures to guarantee that Veterans have the best experience while visiting one of our health facilities while we continue to ensure we mitigate risk of COVID-19 in our local communities. Policies currently in effect are reflected below.
All clinical services (Primary Care, Mental Health, and Specialty Care) are at 100% capacity for face-to-face appointments. Virtual/Connected Care options are available as clinically appropriate and/or Veteran’s preference.
- Gainesville and Lake City Community Living Centers are permitted one visitor at a time on designated days by appointment only. Visitors will need to contact staff of the unit for schedule. Visitors must have a negative antigen rapid test prior to the scheduled visit. The test will be conducted on-site at the CLC.
- Visitation is restricted for COVID-19 positive patients.
To ensure the safety of Veterans while accommodating individual masking preferences and aligning with CDC guidelines, NF/SGVHS has conducted a health care system-wide risk assessment and has established the following policies. Masking will continue to be required for individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or other viral respiratory infections.
Effective immediately, masking will be optional unless you are having cold or flu like symptoms, you are caring for a Veteran in a high risk area, or you are visiting patients in one of the following high-risk areas:
- Open Bay Medical Intensive Care Units
- Emergency Department & Urgent Care
- Infusion Clinic/Chemotherapy Units
- Community Living Center & SCI (staff & visitors only)
- Transplant Units
Staff may remove masks in these high-risk areas only under the following circumstances:
- they are not in a patient room;
- they are not within six feet of a Veteran in a congregate area (e.g., shared meals in CLC); or
- they are not within six feet of a patient in an open treatment area/room.
Masking also continues to be required:
- for those with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection or other viral respiratory infection;
- for VA staff during clinical encounters when requested by a Veteran, caregiver or family member; or
- where local leadership warrants continued masking is required.
Masking is no longer universally required in the following locations:
- Acute inpatient medical/surgical units
- Acute inpatient mental health units
- Intensive care units with closed rooms
- Clinical areas where aerosol generating procedures are performed
- Laboratories collecting or handling specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients (e.g., areas where staff are manipulating cultures from known or suspected COVID-19 patients)
- Congregate settings and bedded residential settings (e.g., blind rehab, residential mental health, homeless shelters)
- Outpatient areas where a significant proportion of patients have high-risk for complication
Universal masking will be relaxed in well-defined non-patient care areas when in low (green) and medium (yellow) levels as defined by the NF/SGVHS Infection Prevention and Control Department’s assessment of COVID-19 transmission rates. Additionally, the following rules/allocations apply:
- Any individual desiring to personally continue with universal masking will be allowed to do so.
- Visitors must adhere to masking requirements when in the presence of Veterans in a high-risk area.
- Staff members will be allowed to participate in the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) Mini-Respiratory Protection Program which allows the use of N95 respirator for source control.
- Continued use of entrance self-screening.
- Use of transmission-based precautions (Droplet + Airborne/Contact) for patients/residents with laboratory confirmed COVID-19.
- COVID-19 testing, and vaccination support will continue to be made available.
- Employees should continue to not report for work with flu like symptoms and contact supervisors.
- VHA healthcare personnel must mask if a Veteran, caregiver, or family member asks them to wear one.
We will continue to monitor our current data to determine if additional measures will need to be implemented.
COVID- 19 screening for staff, patients, and visitors will be completed by self-certification.
Veterans experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must contact their health care team or contact the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center (1-877-741-3400) first- before visiting a hospital or clinic.
Volunteers that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are welcomed back into NF/SGVHS operations. Vaccines are available through the VA. Volunteers will be required to adhere to all guidance outlined by our COVID-19 Health Protection Levels and all other VA hospital policies. Learn how to become a volunteer here.
COVID-19 Testing | Appointment required
North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System offers COVID-19 testing to Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Appointments are required. Veterans can CALL 352-548-6000 ext. 103755 to schedule an appointment.
Additional information about COVID-19 testing can also be obtained from https://www.covid.gov/tests.