If you're a Veteran and haven't had any luck with scheduling a vaccination appointment here in Western Montana, or maybe you just haven't gotten around to getting your shots yet, here's how you can get vaccinated through the VA. The Montana VA Health Care System will hold vaccine clinics across the state until every enrolled Montana Veteran who wants a vaccine is fully vaccinated.

Enrolled Veterans can schedule an appointment for one of the upcoming vaccination clinics, by calling 877-468-8387 and selecting Option 2, and then Option 2 again. Schedulers will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are setting up COVID vaccine clinics across the state to bring the life-saving vaccine to Montana Veterans. Appointments will be scheduled in coordination with these upcoming clinics.

So far, the MTVAHCS has provided more than 12,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Montana Veterans with a combination of the required two doses of the Moderna vaccine and single doses of the Janssen vaccine. I haven't spoken with anyone who has had the Janssen shots, but the Montanans I know that have had the Moderna had no symptoms following either shot. Myself, and those I know who had the Pfizer, experienced more pain with the 2nd injection and became very sleepy about 5 or 6 hours following the second shot. Everyone is different, but these are the things I've heard.

The MTVAHCS wants to remind you that it is critical that all Montanans who receive a vaccine continue to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. According to the CDC, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine (Moderna and Pfizer requires two doses; Janssen requires a single dose). Once fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends that each person:

1.      Wear a well-fitted mask that fully covers your nose and mouth,

2.      Stay at least six feet from people you do not live with, and

3.      Avoid medium and large-sized in-person gatherings.

Veterans can follow COVID-19 vaccination updates via email by signing up here, on Facebook, or Twitter. If a Veteran has questions about receiving the vaccine, they can send their healthcare team a secure message through MyHealtheVet or call (877) 468-8387 (Option 2) to set up a time to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine.

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