The VA versus COVID

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The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has been battling COVID-19 from the very beginning of the pandemic. The recently released Coronavirus Disease 2019 Response Report Annex B tells just how they’ve done. The facts are impressive.

So far they’ve vaccinated 4.3 million people.

The VA was the first federal agency to issue a mandate requiring all VA employees who work in health care to be vaccinated. They beefed up telehealth for veterans at home and those who live in rural areas. This resulted in 2,500 percent increase of telehealth care visits.

The VA carried out 43 Fourth Mission assignments, improving preparedness on the national, state and local levels. These assignments ranged from admitting 630 civilians to VA medical centers to providing 937,000 pieces of personal protective equipment such hand sanitizers, wipes, plexiglass isolation stations, webcams, air machines and so much more. Personnel were deployed to all 50 states to provide support at all levels and in all types of capacities, from hands-on medical to logistics to grocery delivery to homebound veterans.

They have processed between 70,000 and 90,000 COVID tests per week.

The VA published over 300 COVID studies, including: a comparison between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines (Moderna was better), vaccination rates between minorities and white patients (minorities received more vaccines in the VA system while white patients received more vaccines in the civilian population) and Baricitinib plus remdesivir was better than remdesivir by itself, among many other studies.

The VA pulled together pulmonary experts to study long COVID, the long-term symptoms after a COVID infection. It moved early to administer monoclonal antibody therapy and genome sequencing in labs.

If you want to look at the whole 199-page Annex B report, go to www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/COVID_19_Response_Reports.asp. Annex B is the second addendum to the original Response Report.

What is clear is that VA left no stone unturned in its battle with COVID-19. States and local communities could learn a lot from what the VA has been doing.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.