The VA Medical Center in White River Junction is now offering COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans, their spouses and caregivers.
“It is important to us that when we have a veteran come in, and get vaccinated that we know that we are sending them home to a safe environment,” Acting Medical Center Director at White River Junction VA Medical Center Becky Rhoads said.
Rhoads said this just makes sense in ensuring a veteran stays safe.
“It also makes them feel safer going to the grocery store and coming into the medical center to be able to see us in person face to face,” Rhoads said. “To get those human connections that you only get when you are in the same room as someone else.”
Rhoads believes the vaccine is vital for a family’s mental health, too.
“So that they are able to visit with their grandchildren, and their children and their friends and family and neighbors,” Rhoads said.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Kathleen Tobin, the spouse of a Marine veteran, received her shot in the arm. “Many of my family members have had COVID and receiving the vaccine was a relief,” Tobin said. “It meant a lot to have been offered it.”
Numbers show the VA Medical Center is putting its supply to good use.
“As of yesterday, if you round up only by about 50 it was 14,000,” Rhoads said.
They don’t plan on stopping.
“We have been advocating very strong and hard that VA be given more vaccine and be able to roll this out faster because we know that our veteran population is more susceptible to a bad outcome if they were to contract COVID,” Rhoads said.