WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday administered its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine as part of national inoculation effort to prevent the disease as the death toll from the virus surpassed 300,000 in the United States.
World War II Army veteran Margaret Klessens, 96, is the VA’s first patient to receive the vaccine, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced. She is a patient of the Bedford Healthcare System in Massachusetts. The Bedford VA system is a set of three clinics outside of Boston that has seen 473 coronavirus infections and 39 deaths, according to the VA.
The VA has 73,000 vaccines of the initial distribution, according to Christina Noel, a department spokeswoman. It is unclear when the department will get more doses.
Thirty-seven hospitals within the Department of Veterans Affairs have been selected to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, though VA officials are not confident that every veteran will have quick, easy access to the treatment.