Breaking News
More () »

Breaking down Iowa's vaccine plan for veterans and VA health care employees

For the latest coronavirus updates, text FACTS to 515-457-1026.

Local 5 spoke with Gail Graham, director of the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, to talk about its distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local 5 News: What is the vaccine distribution program like in central Iowa to veterans and then those who work at the VA?

Gail Graham, VA Central Iowa Health Care System: The week of Christmas we received an initial shipment of the Moderna vaccine. We received 1,200 doses. We started vaccinating on Dec. 23. We began with health care workers, and we have since moved on to those veterans that live in our community living center, those veterans that are in our rehab center and we are working with the spinal cord injury veterans of Iowa, to do them next. 

Veterans were advised that there is a website that they can show their interest and we are reviewing that interest right now.

Local 5: And we know this is a big job that you have. How regularly are you getting new supplies of the vaccines?

Graham: We anticipate we will get our second shipment this week and then with some regularity, but we don't know the number of vaccines that were received each week and what regularity we will receive them in right now. 

So right now we started with the 1,200, we anticipate a few more hundred this week... those are all first doses and we will receive subsequent shipments for the second doses.

Local 5: And how are you able to keep track of who gets the vaccine? 

Graham: For employees, we recorded occupational health record keeping system. At the time that they're given the vaccine we scheduled a second dose. For veterans we entered in our electronic health record system, again with the veterans that we also scheduled a second dose at the time they received their first dose. 

We have five community-based outpatient clinics ... and we are right now planning to take the vaccine to those staff and and those veterans at high risk categories those over 85, those with comorbid conditions, in the near future.

RELATED: Independent pharmacies still looking to help in vaccination effort

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine next to seek emergency use authorization

Local 5: And what about the Veterans Home itself specifically? Is there a special process for not only residents there but the people who are working with them?

Graham: [They] will begin being vaccinated through the negotiations with the CVS and Walgreens and they will begin vaccinating on Jan. 11. So they will be doing that all under the auspices of the state plan.

Local 5: And you mentioned a website where veterans can go if they are interested in becoming vaccinated? Could you share that with us?

Graham: va.gov/covid19vaccine, and they just enter the name and their contact information and we're reviewing those that have indicated interest right now.

WATCH: Answering your questions about the coronavirus vaccine

Before You Leave, Check This Out