The Hines VA Hospital has been working to ease the challenges many veterans face when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
In just 100 days, the Hines VA reports it administered 40,000 doses of the vaccine. As of Tuesday, more than 41,000 have been administered.
Of the veterans who are homebound in Illinois, the Hines VA says 93% have been vaccinated by a home-based care team.
These teams travel around the state, reaching veterans who can’t travel to a VA clinic.
Lorry Luscri, the coordinator of the vaccine distribution at the Hines VA, says veterans of all ages can get their vaccine at the facility, but many don’t know it.
“We’re still calling veterans now who are saying, ‘I didn’t know I could be vaccinated already,’” said Luscri. “We’ve been open to all ages for a couple of weeks now.”
Elaine and Luis Alejos, 73, both Army veterans (Luis also served in the Navy), received their doses earlier this year through the Hines VA.
“The Army trained me to be a corpsman and then as a nurse. I had never seen the FDA get something through that fast. That was my big hold-up,” said Elaine Alejos.
After receiving a call from Hines, she says she changed her mind.
The couple, who lost two family members to COVID-19, says they have a challenge for other veterans who may be hesitant.
"I challenge every veteran who’s a member of their Legion to get their shots," said Luis Alejos. "They need to get their shots. If they can do that, I’ll be happy."