HAMPTON, Va. - Vaccinations began at the Hampton VA Medical Center on Wednesday morning.
The Center received its allotment of vaccines from Moderna on Tuesday and began by vaccinating health personnel and at-risk veterans.
"I think for our veterans and our community at large, it's a game-changer," said Dr. Shawn Alexander, the interim director of the Hampton VA.
Vaccinations began at other VA Medical Centers around the country. Their website is offering an FAQ for veterans about how the process will work, but Alexander says healthy veterans, just like the general population, will most likely not be eligible until the spring.
"We have a website that's out there and staff is willing to help in any way for anyone who has questions," Alexander said.
The Hampton VA reports 81 active cases and 14 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The number of deaths is lower than many other VA facilities around the country. Still, nationwide, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported December as the deadliest month since the beginning of the pandemic.
"Our team has been doing quite well. Of course, our veterans are a little frustrated. They're used to being able to come to our facility and come freely," Alexander said. "We've had to curtail that to make sure that they are safe and that we're safe."
Currently, only veterans with appointments or those with needs are allowed into the facility.
Now, there's some hope with the vaccinations beginning.
"It really makes a difference when you're able to vaccinate and hopefully with everyone getting it and reaching that 70 percent immunity, we'll be able to have herd immunity and we can actually put a stop to this threat," Alexander said.