CHESAPEAKE, Va. — All men and women who fought for our freedom can now get the COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement from the Hampton VA Health Care System also allows for any spouse or caregiver of a veteran to register to get the vaccine through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“First of all, I didn’t even know spouses can, too," said caregiver Pamela Chesson. "I guess I can get it from being [both] a caregiver and spouse!"
Pamela Chesson was taking one of the veterans she cares for to his lab appointment. Chesson inquired about the veteran getting the COVID-19 vaccine shot. Staff inside the Chesapeake Outpatient clinic put him on the list and he was able to get his first dose.
Now, Chesson said she will register to get her shot too.
“My husband is a 26-year vet from the Navy and we always wanted to service veterans, so now having the opportunity to service veterans for the first time in all these years is awesome,” she said.
On Friday, the Hampton VA Health Care System set up its phone lines and even a QR code to get people registered.
"Once they’re registered, it will set them up with an appointment at one of our available clinics," said Hampton VA Health Care System Chief of Staff Sean Alexander.
The VA has three clinics in Hampton, Norfolk, and Chesapeake.
Alexander explained the qualifications for spouses and caregivers who want the vaccine.
“It doesn’t require a driver's license, it doesn’t require a marriage license to prove that you're a spouse. If the veteran says that they are your caregiver or spouse of a veteran, we’re going to vaccinate you," said Alexander.
On Friday, Vietnam veteran Robert Fields got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He wants others to do their part.
“Maybe we’ll get behind this thing and tell people to look forward. Don’t keep looking back and tell the other people in your family to get the shot," said Fields.
The push to get all veterans and their loved ones vaccinated is under the SAVE LIVES Act. Hampton VA Health Care System is getting weekly shipments of the vaccine from their regional office and the Department of Homeland Security.