Albany VA hospital administers COVID-19 vaccines

Jacquie Slater
Updated: January 07, 2021 07:45 PM
Created: January 07, 2021 05:43 PM

NewsChannel 13 checked in with the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center on Thursday morning. At the time, hospital officials said they were currently treating six patients for COVID-19 with another 46 veterans positive for the virus but being monitored while they recover at home.

As cases of the coronavirus surge across the region, the hospital is bracing for a spike in cases while also working hard to get as many of their employees and patients vaccinated as possible.

Darlene DeLancey is the hospital's director. She says they first received the Moderna vaccine on December 21. Since then, they've administered more than 535 doses to staff and veterans that fall under New York state's first phase guidelines.

DeLancey says vaccinations in their ICU, COVID Unit, emergency department and other critical care areas have been completed for everyone that wanted one.

"We know that there's minimal side effects to the Moderna that we've had. Minimal. But, however, we have to ensure that we can have a stable work force, so we staggered," said DeLancey.

DeLancey says that last week they had their highest number of COVID patients at one time since the pandemic began. Fifteen veterans were hospitalized with the virus.

DeLancey says the VA is scaling back on some of their in-person services and programs. One good thing to come out of the pandemic is veterans have become much more comfortable with the technology and many services are available virtually.

"More than 50% of our services for primary care are now done using video and in our specialty care and PT and other areas. We have also included that," said DeLancey.

As New York moves into its second phase of vaccine distribution, DeLancey says high-risk veterans age 75 and older will be getting a phone call from their primary care physician to let them know if they are eligible.

She hopes to vaccinate 75% of all of their staff and veterans.

"We're here to protect them. We're here to help them get through this COVID pandemic," said DeLancey.

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