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VA Puget Sound continues drive-thru and rural COVID-19 vaccine clinics


April 27, 2021

Seattle , WA — VA Puget Sound Health Care System continues drive-thru and rural COVID-19 vaccine clinics under its Rural Health Initiative, which kicked off March 4, 2021 with its first visit to Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton.

Next stops: Bellingham Vet Center (3800 Byron Avenue, Suite 124) on May 1 from 9 a.m. to noon (inside the facility) and a return to Central Kitsap Schools Administrative Office parking lot (9210 Silverdale Way NW) on Saturday, May 15 from 9 a.m. to noon.

“The Bellingham Vet Center is thrilled to be able to participate in this COVID-19 vaccine opportunity,” said Vet Center Director Michael J. Novotny. “The Bellingham Vet Center provides quality readjustment counseling to Veterans who served in any war zone and survivors of military sexual trauma.”

All vaccines are by appointments only. Health care eligible Veterans should call 206-716-5716 to schedule a vaccine.

Newly eligible Veterans, spouses, caregivers, and recipients of CHAMPVA benefits through the SAVE LIVES Act law should go to the VA’s website – – and use the Keep Me Informed tool to sign up for a vaccine.

As part VA Puget Sound’s broader Rural Health Initiative, it is taking a modular approach to easily support more rural sites after the initial Along with the Mobile Medical Unit, it will be leveraging existing facilities in rural communities—such as VFWs—to set up physical vaccine clinics, and its Homeless Primary Care Team continues to focus on getting vaccines to homeless and home-based Veterans.

“Getting a COVID-19 vaccine adds one more layer of protection against infection for our Veterans, their families and friends, and VA Puget Sound staff who care for them,” said VA Puget Sound Vaccine Coordinator Maureen McLain. “And the best vaccine, is the one you can get now.”

Later this week, VA Puget Sound will resume offering the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years and older, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance, following a 10-day pause recommended by the CDC and FDA after a very small number of people who received the vaccine experienced rare but serious blood clots. After careful review and evaluation, the FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe for use and effective in preventing COVID-19. The available data show that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks and the chance of blood clots occurring following its administration is very low. Anyone who is offered the J&J vaccine from VA will receive information about the potential risks and benefits of the vaccine, including the rare risk of blood clots and will be made aware of alternative vaccine options. The primary goal of COVID-19 vaccination is to protect those we serve from COVID-19, and VA’s priority remains the safety of all those receiving vaccine from VA, including Veterans, their spouses, caregivers, employees, and federal partners.

VA Puget Sound has been providing Pfizer (, Moderna ( and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen ( vaccines depending on the site, which include:  Seattle, American Lake, Silverdale, Mount Vernon and Chehalis care sites as well as drive-thru vaccines using its Mobile Medical Unit.

Patient and staff safety remain paramount, and VA Puget Sound’s rigorous safety measures remain in place:

--  100 percent screening of patients and visitors for signs of COVID-19 infection.

--  100 percent use of approved face masks for everyone entering and inside any of our care sites (if you don’t have one, we will provide you with one; no medical waivers).

--  100 percent physical distancing.

--  No walk-in patients outside of emergent care needs.

--  No routine visitors

  • Inpatient Visits: Exceptions must be coordinated with your care team in advance. Visits 30 minutes or less unless care team believes a longer visit is in best interest of the patient.
  • Outpatient Visits: Patients can bring one person as an escort for navigation assistance or to provide care support. Visitor must stay with the patient throughout their visit unless specified otherwise by the health care team.
  • Approved Visitors: Must be approved by care team in advance of visit. Must adhere to all safety measures. Must use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting a care area. And are not allowed in the room during aerosol-generating procedures.

--  No children under 18 allowed, with one exception: American Lake’s Child Care Center.

--  Do not leave unaccompanied minors outside during your visit.

--  100 percent environmental cleaning recommendations as outlined by the CDC.

--  Chapel services at Seattle campus (maximum seating capacity is 25 percent): Catholic Mass.(Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays) at 12:15 p.m. and Protestant Services (Sundays) at 10 a.m.

--  Onsite dining in our Canteens (maximum seating capacity is 25 percent).

VA Puget Sound provides comprehensive care to more than 150,000 Veterans across the Pacific Northwest—approximately 110,000 are enrolled with a primary care team at one of its care sites. As the VA’s 5th largest research program, VA Puget Sound has research in virtually every major clinical department, including: TBI and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer's Disease; PTSD and deployment health; Parkinson’s Disease; diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; genomics; and Health Services. Additionally, it has seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence (in areas from limb-loss prevention and prosthetic engineering to primary care education and substance abuse treatment). For more information visit

To learn about how many people the VA has vaccinated, visit:

For more information about the Bellingham Vet Center, contact Jerry Pitts at (360) 733-9226. For more information about VA Puget Sound, contact or 206.277.1711.

Media contacts

Tami Begasse, Public Affairs Officer


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