KALISPELL — A total of 250 veterans received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday in Havre thanks to a national Veteran's Affairs pilot program bringing vaccines to rural veterans.
MTN News talked with Montana VA officials who say this service may soon be available to thousands of veterans in the Flathead.
Montana VA Health Care System Executive Director Dr. Judy Hayman says the VA is working hard to bring the vaccine pilot program to rural veterans across the state.
“We’ll be replicating this across the state, we haven’t yet selected our second location, but Kalispell is certainly a priority,” Dr. Hayman said.
Dr. Hayman says bringing vaccination clinics to Flathead County is dependent on vaccine allocation and she expects to vaccinate thousands of veterans once doses are available.
“Well, ultimately will be able to vaccinate every veteran who would like to receive the vaccine, for Kalispell we serve about 5,000 veterans there, so as many people as we can schedule. If we have to be up there for two days, three days, we will absolutely do it,” Dr. Hayman said.
Dr. Hayman says veterans who are enrolled in VA Healthcare will be contacted by VA officials once they become eligible to schedule an appointment. She added veterans who’re not enrolled in VA healthcare should contact Montana VA if they would like to be vaccinated.
“If you’re a veteran hearing this and you’re not enrolled in VA care please give us a call because you may be eligible and if we can get you enrolled, we can get you the vaccine,” Dr. Hayman said.
Dr. Hayman says the Montana VA is currently vaccinating veterans 75 years and older and those with underlying medical conditions.
Montana veterans who are not enrolled with VA healthcare are encouraged to call (406) 447-7350 to find out if they are eligible.