Houston VA hosts walk-in vaccine clinic for veterans

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston veterans arrived early for the opportunity to get the coronavirus vaccine this weekend.

On Saturday, the Houston VA's walk-in vaccine clinic for veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center had veterans in line hours before the 8 a.m. start time.

The vaccinations couldn't come soon enough for some veterans, including John Hamilton, who has isolated himself to avoid contracting the virus.

"It's been almost a year, I've been in my apartment," Hamilton said. "(I've been) just walking the dog more than anything else."

According to the VA, the weekend walk-in clinic is exclusively for veterans 75 years and older and to get the vaccine here, they have to be enrolled to receive care at the Houston VAMC or one of the community-based outpatient clinics.

"Those wishing to be vaccinated must bring identification, wear a mask to enter the facility, maintain social distancing, and not be ill, including having any COVID-19 symptoms such as coughing or a fever," the VA wrote in a Facebook post.

The VA also noted that veterans must be available for a follow-up appointment for the second dose of the vaccine in about three weeks.

Saturday's clinic was at least the second event at the VA. Last weekend's clinic was so popular, administrators decided to continue this weekend. The VA has been giving vaccinations during the week by appointment and has performed around 10,000 injections so far.

No appointments were necessary for Saturday's clinic, which would remain open until vaccination limits are reached.

Houston's VA was one of the first in the country to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because the facility has a deep freezer on site, officials said. The extreme cold storage is required for the vaccine, which must be kept 94 degrees below zero prior to being given.

Veterans can also call 713-794-8985 to make an appointment to get a vaccine during the week, according to the VA.

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is located on the first floor of the medical center at 2002 Holcombe Blvd.

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