VASNHS begins vaccinating veterans in Pahrump

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Frank Duszynski Jr., 72, received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Pahrump VA Clinic on Feb. 6, 2021. He is one of more than 400 veterans to receive the vaccine over the two-day clinic. (VA photograph)
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VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System delivered the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to over 400 veterans at the Pahrump VA Clinic over the weekend of Feb. 6-7.

This is the first time VASNHS has administered the vaccine outside of the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.

Staff from the VAMC joined Pahrump VA nurses and the Nye County Fire Department to deliver the first round of vaccinations to veterans ages 70 and older during the two-day clinic. The clinic was held on the weekend so it wouldn’t interrupt vaccine distribution operations occurring throughout the week at the VAMC.

“We were excited about the vaccine when we first heard that it was being administered at the medical center, but there was always an underlying concern that we were so far away from being able to access the vaccine,” said Bill Carl, physician assistant at the Pahrump VA clinic. “Many of our veterans here in Pahrump are older, and find it difficult to travel so far, so when it was announced that the VA would be bringing the vaccine to our facility, the veterans were just thrilled.”

Vietnam-era Veteran Frank Duszynski Jr. was the first in line to receive his vaccine at 8 a.m. on Saturday. “I feel like I’ve been ducking and dodging COVID all year,” said the 72-year-old former Army military policeman. “When the VA called me to offer me the vaccine, I jumped at the chance. I feel like the VA is taking care of me and is conscious of our health.”

VASNHS will host another weekend vaccine clinic at the Pahrump VA Clinic Feb. 20-21. Vaccines will be distributed by appointment only, and exclusively to veterans who are enrolled in VA health care at the Pahrump VA Clinic. Veterans who are 70 years old or older or have high-risk medical conditions should call 775-727-7535 to schedule an appointment. Veterans will be scheduled for their second dose exactly three weeks from the date that they receive their first dose.

Since giving the first dose of the vaccine on Dec. 16, VASNHS has delivered more than 14,500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (as of Feb. 8).

The following groups are currently eligible to receive the vaccine at VASNHS:

• Veterans 80-years-old or older can receive their vaccine at the North Las Vegas VAMC on a walk-in basis during normal vaccine clinic hours (weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
• Veterans age 70-79 can reserve a day and time to receive the vaccine at the North Las Vegas VAMC by calling 702-791-9185. (Please note: This is a reservation time block vs. an exact appointment time and Veterans should be prepared for a brief wait prior to receiving their vaccine).
• Veterans under age 70 should not contact the reservation line. Please wait until you are contacted by VASNHS letting you know scheduling is open to your age group.
• Veterans in high-risk categories who have questions about the vaccine and scheduling should contact their primary care team — not the reservation line.

Veterans who have received their first dose from the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center or another location should receive their second dose from the same location.

Based on limited supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine, VASNHS is adhering to CDC and VA guidelines and primarily distributing via priority groups. Please do not call to schedule an appointment unless you are at least 70 years old or have been directed to do so by your care team. All veterans interested in receiving the vaccine will eventually have the opportunity when supply permits.

Veterans seeking additional information can sign up to get updated information through VA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Keep Me Informed tool, visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team, or visit www.lasvegas.va.gov.
 
 
 

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