Veterans and military personnel have their own COVID vaccination program, and KGVO News received an update from Dr. Judy Hayman, Executive Director of the Montana Veterans Administration Healthcare System on Friday about a pilot program to vaccinate veterans.

“Yesterday we had an event in Havre where we were the first VA in the nation to engage in a contract with an air charter company,” said Dr. Hayman. “We flew 250 vaccines up to Havre and we had staff from four of our other locations there to support the event. We had staff from the Havre clinic, from Glasgow from Fort Harrison and from Great Falls there, so it was a wonderful event that we're looking to replicate across the state.”

Dr. Hayman said there have already been many veterans vaccinated in Missoula.

“Actually Missoula was one of the first veteran vaccination clinics and we vaccinated 200 veterans there on January 13th,” she said. “They will be back February 10 for their 28 day follow up to receive their second dose.”

Dr. Hayman then described where veterans can receive their vaccinations.

“There are three distribution sources for the COVID vaccines that have currently been approved, which are Pfizer and Moderna,” she said. “So the federal distribution system has two, I'll say wings if you'd like. One is the VA system, and one is through the IHS. The civilians are probably getting theirs through the states which they each have their own allocation and distribution system.”

Dr. Hayman said the VA will be contacting veterans directly about being vaccinated.

“We will be calling veterans to schedule their vaccinations as we receive additional allocation,” she said. “So we're starting currently with age 75 and up or any veteran with specific medical comorbidities.”

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94 percent effective in clinical trials in preventing COVID-19 disease (after the second dose). The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart.