NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center will open a portion of its new facility on Rivers Avenue to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to Veterans.
In a press release on Tuesday, leaders with the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center say the new 75,000 sq. ft. facility is scheduled to fully open over the summer, but it will temporarily serve as a vaccination clinic beginning next month to meet the demands of veterans who are requesting the vaccine.
The facility will begin administering the inoculations at the site, located at 6450 Rivers Avenue, beginning February 1st.
Veterans age 70 and older who are enrolled in VA health care are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this location, by appointment.
The clinic will be able to vaccinate up to 5,000 Veterans per week depending on the availability of vaccines.
“We were approved to be one of the first VA facilities to distribute both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and we are eager to get the vaccine to as many Veterans as possible,” said Scott Isaacks, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center CEO. “Our goal is to distribute vaccines as quickly as we can and as soon as they arrive.” Isaacks went on to explain to News 2 that these goals of course are dependent on supply.
In regards to ‘wasted vaccines’, Isaacks said he is proud to announce that up to this point, the Charleston VA has not wasted any vaccines. He claimed the reason for that is due to the full-service hospital downtown, “each vile, we make sure we have scheduled appointments, but we also take walk-ins to make sure we use every dose.”
Stephen Cornelius, a veteran, made his way from North Myrtle Beach to North Charleston on the recommendation of his wife. With her being a teacher, he said she is in constant exposure to the virus, and he is extremely vulnerable.
I’m a perfect candidate, I’m old, I’m fat, I’ve had open-heart surgery, I’ve got diabetes and she said honey, you’ve got to call the VA and you’ve got to get a shot because I’m around it all the time. So, I called and bingo-bango, I got an appointment.Stephen Cornelius, Veteran from North Myrtle Beach
While Cornelius said that while he had to make the trip to North Charleston, the VA wasted no time getting him in and out of the clinic. Having been through the polio epidemic, Cornelius said that getting a shot for the pandemic was much easier. He said that with most vaccines, you “usually feel the juices going in the arm but just nothing.”
Veterans who are eligible for the vaccine should call 843-789-6900 to schedule an appointment. The appointment line will be available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has already distributed 5,325 COVID-19 vaccines.
Veterans who have already received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center located at 109 Bee Street in downtown Charleston should return to that same location for their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their first dose.
Veterans can locate the date of their first dose of the vaccine on their Vaccination Card.
Any veterans who have already been contacted by the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and have a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment should keep the date and time of that appointment at the location scheduled.