Salem VA Medical Center begins administering Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

Published: Dec. 24, 2020 at 5:48 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It was a day of celebration for health care workers and veterans at the Salem VA Medical Center as both began receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday.

“We are looking at vaccinating all the people, anyone who can get the vaccine, especially those in the high-risk category, go ahead and get the vaccine. Yes, there are a few adverse side effects, but the overall benefits far exceed any local side effects you may have,” said Dr. Shikha Vasudeva.

Dr. Vasudev, an infectious disease specialist, was the first medical provider to get the vaccine. She reports not having any side effects.

“Arm pain has been listed as a side effect but I did not have any arm pain,” said Vasudeva.

Mr. Coy Shaffner, a 98-year-old World War II veteran, was the very first person to receive the vaccine. Mr. Shaffner currently lives in the Salem community living center - the other residents of the CLC will also receive their vaccines throughout this week.

After that, dialysis patients are next on the list, then all veterans over the age of 75. That amounts to over 7,600 patients.

Dr. Vasudeva wants to remind everyone that getting the vaccine does not mean you should stop wearing a mask or social distancing, as there is not enough known yet about the vaccine and asymptomatic spread.

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