Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-02-23 17:42:06 –
People across the country are lined up to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including a group of veterans in Kalispell, Montana.
However, Kalispell is not the easiest place.
“Supporting vaccination was a daunting task. We are a Rocky Mountain state, so we have mountains and winters,” said Judy Haman, Executive Director of the Montana VA Medical System. “We were selected by (VA Deputy Secretary Dr. Richard Stone) to pilot a local vaccine distribution program.”
Haman is responsible for running the VA pilot program, transporting vaccines to rural areas across the country. Vaccines arrive by plane because it takes too long to drive to these communities.
“I’ve attended two events so far, which gives me quick access to vaccines across this very large state,” says Haman.
All shots of the arm provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs are a great relief for hospitals throughout the state.
“Whenever a veterans clinic or a veterans ministry hospital can vaccinate someone, it’s another person who isn’t in line to vaccinate at a local hospital,” runs the Montana Hospital Association. Rich Rasmussen says.
The extra vaccine is huge for Rasmussen. He is keenly aware of the challenges facing these rural communities.
One issue that is not unique to the local community is the amount of vaccine available.
“The only limiting factor is the supply of vaccines,” said California Democrat Mark Takano.
Takano is the chairman of the Veterans Commission. He and other members of the Commission are trying to ensure that VA has the resources needed to vaccinate veterinarians across the country. Most of them are offered in cash form.
“An additional $ 17 billion has been marked up as part of the Biden administration’s US rescue program last week,” Takano said.
Part of that money will enable VA to deploy local vaccine programs nationwide and continue to provide vaccinations to those who have served faithfully in our country.