WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita has begun contacting veterans at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 to schedule them for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“Within hours of receiving our first allocation of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, we began offering it to our health care personnel and community living center residents,” said Medical Center Director Candace Ifabiyi. “We are now offering vaccinations to Veterans who fall into high-risk categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Veterans Health Administration.”

Veterans being contacted for scheduling include homeless veterans, hemodialysis patients, solid organ transplant patients and chemotherapy patients. The VA is also contacting patients who have health conditions that put them at higher risk for contracting the disease and are 75 years of age or older.

Veterans who fall into one of these higher risk categories can call the Dole VA at 316-469-0914 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and get scheduled to receive their vaccine. Wait times for an appointment can be as little as one day, and some may even be able to get in on the same day they call.

“The shelf life for a vial of vaccine is only six hours after we pierce it, so any cancellation can create same-day openings in our appointment schedule,” said Pharmacy Chief Dr. Susan Duquaine.

The Dole VA’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic is located in Building 59 at the medical center’s campus at 5500 East Kellogg. The clinic is available by appointment only, and veterans will be expected to schedule an appointment to receive the second dose (approximately 28 days after the first) before they leave.

“As vaccine supplies increase, VA care teams will contact more groups of Veterans to schedule vaccinations,” Ifabiyi said. “Our ultimate goal is to offer COVID-19 vaccination to all Veterans who want to be vaccinated.” 

Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA’s VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage and sign up to receive regular updates on the vaccine on the VA’s Stay Informed page.