Aleda E. Lutz VAMC Expands Offering of COVID-19 Booster Shots
The safety and care of Veterans and our workforce are top priorities for the Department of Veterans of Affairs. Effective Wednesday, October 27, 2021, Aleda E. Lutz VAMC is now offering Veterans and employees both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine booster shot.
“Vaccines remain the best way of protecting Veterans, staff and our local communities against COVID-19,” said Dr. Richard J. Schildhouse, acting Chief of Staff. “The expanded FDA and CDC recommendations regarding booster shots allow us to better protect those at higher risk, as well as our community at large.”
This decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for a booster dose for specific groups who have finished their initial COVID vaccination series.
- For those who completed either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot 6 months or more after their last dose:
- 65 years and older.
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings.
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions.
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings (e.g. live in community/group housing, work as a frontline/healthcare worker).
- For those who had a J&J COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are recommended for any of those who are 18 and older who were vaccinated at least 2 months ago.
Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose, as supply and capacity exist. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others, may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of “mix and match” dosing for booster shots.
While the initial series of vaccines remain highly effective in reducing the likelihood of infection and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, or death among those infected, the purpose of this booster shot is to “boost” antibody protection, which may lessen over time.
VA is also offering the booster to Veterans, their spouses, caregivers and CHAMPVA recipients under the authority of the SAVE LIVES Act, as supply and capacity permits. The Save Lives Act authorizes VA to offer vaccine to Veterans not traditionally eligible for VHA care, and others including spouses and caregivers of Veterans.
Veterans who receive care in VA and are due for booster shots will be identified through VA’s Veterans Outreach Tool, then contacted and advised of the recommended booster shots, which will be offered by appointment. Those who received a vaccine under authorization of the SAVE LIVES Act and are due for a booster shot may do so in VA if supply permits and should consult with their physician if they have questions about whether they should receive a booster. Contact 989-497-2500, Extension 11230 or your PACT provider to schedule an appointment to receive the booster. Veterans who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside of VA can also contact us for a booster at the number above, and we ask that they bring their vaccination card with them if possible.
CDC advises that it is safe for people to get both the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time. Veterans receiving care at VA who wish to get a booster shot can get both shots together during the same visit.