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Durham VA hosts mass vaccination event Saturday, continuing rapid distribution process

Posted January 23, 2021 7:16 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2021 11:33 p.m. EST

It’s been a slow and steady vaccination rollout process in Durham County. But, here at the Department of Veterans Affairs, it’s been quite the opposite.

The Durham VA is administering 400 doses a day, Monday through Thursday. That’s about 1,600 people a week. That doesn’t include the mass vaccination that happened on Saturday.

They were able to get through Phase 1A pretty quickly, vaccinating veterans and employees. To date, they have administered a total 7,000 doses. And things continue to ramp up as the VA hosted its first mass vaccination event inside its cafeteria on Saturday for veterans ages 65 and older.

Veterans were plenty eager to receive their doses.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my children in a few months and my grandchildren who I haven’t been able to be around,” said Craig Jackson, a Marine Corps veteran.

While many of these veterans were anxiously waiting for this day, deputy chief of the office of public health and epidemiology Genevieve Embree says that there were a few challenges along the way.

“Just getting enough pharmacy staff, as well as nursing staff, schedulers, everyone to assist with the flow,” Embree said. “We’ve also had to redesign some of our spaces, because veterans need to wait for at least 15 minutes after they receive their vaccination and we wanted to make sure they are distanced.”

Although there were some long lines, the wait time was only about 15 minutes. The VA’s next mass vaccination event will be Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 ,where up to 3,000 appointments will be available.

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