Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Jan. 20, 2021

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Clark County veterans not answering VA calls about COVID-19 vaccinations

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

If you’re a Clark County veteran, you might want to keep your phone nearby and answer it, even when you don’t recognize the caller.

The local branch of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is calling veterans to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations, but veterans are not consistently answering the calls, said Daniel Herrigstad, the public affairs officer for the VA Portland Health Care System.

“That’s where our challenge comes in,” Herrigstad said. “We need veterans to answer their phones.”

Those problems in contact are leading to unnecessary delays in scheduling before the Vancouver campus plans to ramp up its vaccination efforts by moving inoculations from a conference room to a gymnasium next week, which will accommodate more people.

Because of privacy issues the VA cannot leave a message asking veterans to call back and schedule a vaccination appointment. The VA is making multiple attempts to reach veterans by phone, Herrigstad said.

At this point, vaccinations are still restricted to veterans 75 and older and those with underlying health conditions.

Since starting vaccinations about one month ago, the Vancouver VA has vaccinated hundreds of veterans, Herrigstad said, and some veterans have already had a second and final dose.

If veterans want to learn more about the VA vaccination schedule, or when they will be able to get vaccinated, they can call 503-220-3434 or visit www.portland.va.gov.

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