The White River Junction Veterans Affairs Healthcare System partnered with the Vermont National Guard to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those enrolled in the VA Medical System.
Veterans of all ages, along with staffers at the Department of Homeland Security headed to the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction for their vaccine.
Veteran Jim Beams got his second dose Friday. Beams said he can’t wait to see his children.
“Without these vaccinations I don’t know when I would be able to spend any time with them,” Beams said.
He’s already made plans for Sunday.
‘”Were they happy that you got it?,’ ‘oh happy, they’re making a lobster dinner for me,'” Beams said.
Some veterans waited hours to get their vaccine. Veteran Charlie Stevens said it was worth it.
“There’s a certain high to it for sure, we feel relieved,” Stevens said.
The Public Affairs Officer at the White River Junction VA Healthcare System, Katherine Tang said they brought around 1000 doses, and planned to use them all.
“Typically when we offer something like this veterans show up right at the start, assuming that we may run out of vaccines which is never the case, we always bring enough,” Tang said.
Veterans are some of the most vulnerable in the community.
“So not only is it important for us to protect them, just as a neighbor, but as somebody who should be giving back for what they have done for us what they have provided for us,” Tang said.
There were some frustrations with the parking, because it filled up quickly, but there was no shortage of vaccines.
“To be able to give that to somebody who served for our country is an honor for each of us and that is why we are here, we are here to give back to those who served for us,” Tang said.
Veterans and the Department of Homeland Security staff can receive their second doses on April 2 at the same location. A similar walk in clinic like today is in the works for the southern part of the state.