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Atlanta VA Health Care System

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About the Atlanta VA Health Care System

VA announces initial plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a preliminary plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccinations it will implement once the Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency use authorization for a vaccine.

VA has worked in close coordination with the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed to plan for COVID-19 vaccination of VA staff and Veterans.

VA will first provide vaccinations to front-line VA health care workers and Veterans residing in long-term care units in 37 of its medical centers across the country.

The centers, listed below, were chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.

Health care workers will be among the first to receive vaccinations because they are at high risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 to other staff members and patients, and their health is critical to ensuring the continued care of Veterans.

Veterans in VA’s long-term care facilities will be the first patient group to be vaccinated. As vaccine supplies increase, additional Veterans will receive vaccinations based on factors such as age, existing health problems and other considerations that increase the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

VA anticipates a limited vaccine supply immediately after FDA’s approval, but expects more supplies to be available in short order.

“VA is well prepared and positioned to begin COVID-19 vaccinations,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Our ultimate goal is to offer it to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The 37 VA sites chosen for initial distribution of the vaccine will closely monitor patients and staff for side effects and log this information in its vaccine monitoring and tracking system. This is the same system VA uses to monitor reactions to all vaccines, including those for the flu and shingles.

VA will report directly to the CDC data on all vaccine doses administered by VA. The department will also provide general, public updates on the number of people who receive the vaccination at these sites, similar to how VA posts COVID-19 testing figures.

The 37 VA sites are spread throughout the country and include:

Birmingham (AL) VA Health Care System

Phoenix (AZ) VA Health Care System

West Los Angeles (CA) VA Health Care System

Palo Alto (CA) VA Health Care System

Eastern Colorado (CO) VA Health Care System

Connecticut (West Haven Campus) VA Health Care System

Washington DC VA Health Care System

Orlando (FL) VA Health Care System

Augusta (GA) VA Health Care System

Edward J. Hines Jr. VA Hospital (IL)

Lexington (KY) VA Health Care System

Southeast Louisiana (New Orleans) VA Health Care System

Maryland (Baltimore) VA Health Care System

Bedford (MA) VA Health Care System

Ann Arbor (MI) VA Health Care System

Minneapolis (MN) VA Health Care System

Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital (Columbia MO)

St. Louis (MO) VA Health Care System

Omaha (NE) VA Health Care System

Southern Nevada (North Las Vegas) VA Health Care System

Raymond G. Murphy (NM) VA Health Care System

New York Harbor (Manhattan) VA Health Care System

Western New York (Buffalo) VA Health Care System

Durham (NC) VA Health Care System

Cleveland (OH) VA Health Care System

Oklahoma City (OK) VA Health Care System

Portland (OR) VA Health Care System

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (Philadelphia PA)

Pittsburgh (PA) VA Health Care System

Caribbean (Puerto Rico) VA Health Care System

Memphis (TN) VA Health Care System

Dallas (TX) VA Medical Center

Michael E. DeBakey VA Health Care System (Houston TX)

Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital (San Antonio TX)

Richmond (VA) VA Health Care System

Puget Sound (WA) VA Health Care System

Milwaukee (WI) VA Health Care System

Veterans seeking additional information should visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team, or visit their facility website.

The Atlanta VA Healthcare system has been selected for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

The Atlanta VA Healthcare System will begin a clinical trial for the single-dose investigational COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson soon. This is the fourth large-scale COVID-19 vaccine trial in the United States.

Veterans and volunteers (men and non-pregnant women over 18) can enroll in the study at the Atlanta VA Healthcare System, with special focus on:

Black, Hispanic and Native American Veterans, Volunteers, 
Frontline Staff and Essential Workers

The reason we’re asking minority Veterans to enroll is because the COVID-19 pandemic has affected members of these communities at much higher rates than the rest of the population, especially Black, Hispanic and Native American populations.

The more participants from these communities in the study, the better researchers will understand if the investigational vaccine is truly safe and effective for the people who need it most.

Q. Can I get COVID-19 from the investigational vaccine?

A. You cannot get COVID-19 from the investigational vaccine or the placebo used as part of the study. That’s because the investigational vaccine does not contain any live or killed virus. For more information about the Janssen clinical trials, including the investigational vaccine they’re testing, visit www.ensemblestudy.com.



Q. Will the investigational vaccine make me higher-risk for COVID-19?

A. The investigational vaccine will not increase your risk of COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone is at risk for getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. However, some people are more likely to become more seriously ill than others, such as older adults and people with underlying health conditions. The investigational vaccine will not increase your risk of complications if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.



Q. How can I sign up for this study?

A. Anyone interested in participating in the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial at the Atlanta VA Healthcare system should sign up for VA’s coronavirus research volunteer list at www.va.gov/coronavirus-research.



Signing up for volunteer list does not guarantee enrollment into the trial. Volunteers will be contacted if they appear to meet a trial’s eligibility criteria or seem like a good match for another COVID-19 study at their local VA.

Veterans who live too far from the Atlanta VA Healthcare System but want to volunteer for other COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in their area can register with the Coronavirus Prevention Network at www.coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org.

To learn more about other VA research efforts on COVID-19, visit https://www.research.va.gov/covid-19.cfm.


Using Telehealth to Care for our Veterans during COVID-19


Check out the video below demonstrating how we are using VA Video Connect to expand access to health care for our Veterans during COVID-19 and leading the way with the most VVC appointments of any VA facility.


Changes in our Community Based Outpatient Clinics(CBOCs) Operations

  • In this time of crisis, the safety of our Veterans and staff is our number one priority. In order to minimize exposure to COVID-19,  outpatient clinics and Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) will be open for telehealth appointments only. No face to face visits will be conducted. Veterans are encouraged to schedule a virtual appointment by using My HealtheVet.  In case of an emergency, Veterans should call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room. Please contact our Telephone Advice Program (TAP) at 404-329-2222 if you need medical advice or have a question.


Medication Refills and Emergent Lab Needs

  • Most medications can be refilled using our automated prescription refill line. For medications that may require additional testing, please consult your provider via My HealtheVet. We have options in many cases for home tests or testing in the community. 

 

  • For urgent or emergent lab needs, the lab at the medical center will remain available. Additional information will be forthcoming in the next 24-48 hours.


Thank you for your cooperation as we adjust to conditions as they occur.



Atlanta VA Medical Center (VAMC), a Joint Commission, designated medical facility sits on 26 acres in Decatur, Georgia—just minutes from downtown Atlanta. The main medical center is a level 1A tertiary care facility providing patient-centered healthcare via an array of comprehensive medical, surgical, geriatric specialty services, as well as state-of–the-art diagnostic testing throughout 14 sites of care. With 466 inpatient beds, including a 120-bed Community Living Center, a 40-bed domiciliary, and a 21-bed Residential Treatment Program, the Atlanta VAMC is uniquely positioned to serve the healthcare needs of more than 130,000 enrolled Veterans living in 50 counties across northeast Georgia. The Medical Center, also a teaching hospital, provides hands-on and state-of-the-art technology, education and research to residents in collaboration with Emory University School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Mission

Honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.

Vision

To be the benchmark of excellence and value in health care and benefits by providing exemplary services that are both patient & family-centered and evidence-based. This care will be delivered by engaged, collaborative teams in an integrated environment that supports learning, discovery and continuous improvement. It will emphasize prevention and population health and contribute to the Nation’s well-being through education, research and service in national emergencies.

Goal: Our 3 Promises

  • To provide care second to none – the best care anywhere.
  • To maintain and expand Veteran’s healthcare services whenever possible.
  • To ensure that every veteran will be personally satisfied with the care that they receive, based on the highest quality of outcome.

Values

Integrity: Act with high moral principle. Adhere to the highest professional standards. Maintain the trust and confidence of all with whom I engage.

Commitment: Work diligently to serve Veterans and other beneficiaries. Be driven by an earnest belief in VA’s mission. Fulfill my individual responsibilities and organizational responsibilities.

Advocacy: Be truly Veteran-centric by identifying, fully considering, and appropriately advancing the interests of Veterans and other beneficiaries.

Respect: Treat all those I serve and with whom I work with dignity and respect. Show respect to earn it.

Excellence: Strive for the highest quality and continuous improvement. Be thoughtful and decisive in leadership, accountable for my actions, willing to admit mistakes, and rigorous in correcting them.