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Virginia VA hospital doctor: 'Do it for yourself, for your family'

Flu Shot
Posted at 5:15 PM, Oct 30, 2021

HAMPTON, Va. -- The Hampton VA Medical Center is making another push to get veterans vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu.

"If we can keep people out of the hospital because of a flu shot, prevent influenza, we're going to take some pressure off the entire healthcare system," said Dr. James Dixon, Assistant Chief of Primary Care at the Hampton VA Medical Center.

It's a system that Dixon said has been overrun and overworked the past year and a half.

"Our hospitals and our healthcare workers are really stressed and strained at this point in time," he said. "We don't know exactly what COVID's going to do in the weeks and months ahead, but those hospital beds are going to be precious, most likely."

To keep more hospital beds empty this winter, doctors are pushing for veterans to get the flu shot in addition to their COVID vaccine.

Dr. Carl Kesgan, Chief of Pharmacy Services at the Hampton VA Medical Center, said, "If our veterans haven't received it yet, now is the best time to ensure that they're fully protected during peak season."

He said the center has been holding informational sessions to answer questions about getting the COVID vaccine, the flu shot, and both at the same time.

"For the flu, it's been highly effective with mild side effects for many, many years," Kesgan said. "We have a lot of evidence now that all of the COVID-19 vaccines work very, very well."

Dixon echoed the sentiment, adding, "Join us in getting a vaccine. Do it for yourself, your family, your neighbors, the children that are running up and down the sidewalks in your neighborhood."

Starting Monday, November 1st, flu shots will be available at the main entrance of the center:

  • Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Fridays 9 a.m. to noon

Veterans can also receive flu vaccines at the outlying community-based clinics in Chesapeake, Elizabeth City, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.

People looking to get a COVID vaccine can do so at:

  • The Medical Center, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Chesapeake on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon
  • Elizabeth City Community Clinic on Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Virginia Beach on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon
  • Central Virginia VA Health Care System Richmond Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Click here for more information on receiving a COVID vaccine and making an appointment at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond.