Milwaukee VA opens vaccinations to enrolled veterans 60 and older

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee VA Medical Center is expanding COVID-19 vaccinations to include enrolled veterans age 60 and older. 

Tim Schleis got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 3.

The 60-year-old veteran, who served in Desert Storm, said he’s both excited and relieved.

“I’ll be glad when everyone gets it so this whole COVID is sort of behind us," said Scheis.

Previously, vaccinations were only offered to those 65 and older. 

“We’re at the point now where we feel we can lower that age and get some of those other veterans that have been waiting patiently.” Dr. Ankur Patel, COVID-19 Response Team Director, said.

VA staff will contact eligible veterans to make an appointment.

Chief of Pharmacy Dr. Kim Bell said they want to keep the calendar full.

“We’re running our clinics every day. We want to get as many people in, just to increase that access," said Bell.

This Saturday, March 6, the medical center is hosting a COVID-19 walk-in clinic.

To prevent long lines, enrolled veterans are encouraged to pick up a ticket with a scheduled vaccination time in advance.

The tickets will be made available Wednesday, March 3, at the following locations and times:

  •  VFW Post 10519, 6351 W. Grange Ave., Greendale, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
  • American Legion Post 82, 435 N. Lake St. Port, Port Washington, 10 to 11:30 am.

About 650 vaccinations will be given at the walk-in clinic, which will run from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. or until doses are exhausted.

“Something like COVID can really deteriorate an already compromised patient pretty quickly, so our priority is to get shots in arms, to save lives," said Patel.

Veterans will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with second shots administered on or near March 27.

Aside from this clinic, vaccinations will be by appointment only. The VA is reaching out directly to schedule appointments and asks that veterans wait until they are contacted.

Veterans using VEText will start seeing appointment requests via text message beginning Tuesday, March 2.

You can ensure your contact information is up to date at www.myhealth.va.gov.

The Milwaukee VA also asks any veterans who have received COVID-19 vaccinations in the community to contact their VA health care team so records can be kept up to date. Veterans can upload an image of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card by using secure messaging in MyHealthEVet.

Veterans with questions about VA enrollment or eligibility can go to www.va.gov/health-care or call 1-877-222-8387.

The VA hosted a COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall on its Facebook page on Wednesday, March 3.

To watch, click here

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