LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Those who served in the U.S. military were one of the first groups to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Veterans took part in the newly opened drive-thru clinic at the Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville on Wednesday. About 60% of staff at the VA hospital has already been vaccinated, and veterans were next in line to get their dose.
“This is when we start giving back to those who have raised their hand and went before us and paid the price so we could have the freedoms we enjoy each and every day, which is our veterans,” Robley Rex VA Medical Center Director Stephen Black told WAVE 3 News before the new drive-thru vaccination clinic started.
Veterans in high-risk categories due to medical conditions or age are getting the first doses.
Floyd Foreman, 94, told WAVE 3 News that he was happy to be first in line.
“I’m glad to get it over with first come-first serve,” Foreman said with a smile.
The Louisvillian served in the Army in both the Philippines and Europe.
“I needed it and everybody else is getting it, so I might as well get mine, I wanted to be first,” Foreman said of the vaccine.
He and 82-year-old Marine L.D. Varner, a Vietnam helicopter pilot, said if the vaccine is offered there’s no reason not to take it.
“It’s a good thing to do,” Varner said. “Better smart than dead.”
His wife echoed those sentiments, saying she was thrilled her husband was asked to participate.
Black explained that the veterans at Robley Rex want to show off for others worried about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“They’re raising their hand again and getting to the front of the line really to be a witness to other veterans about the need for this,” Black said. “We have 28 veterans in our hospital with COVID-19 and that’s nearly our highpoint since this began.”
With the virus on the rise, hospital officials said vets like these are setting a great example.
“I’m excited,” Dr. Christina White, the vaccination coordinator, said. “I feel a sense of hope, hope that this is coming to an end, and I am optimistic we will have a lot of veterans receive the vaccine, and we’ve gotten a great response as we’ve done outreach calls.”
Robley Rex VA Hospital representatives have reached out to about 3,000 area veterans, and so far about 2,000 have reportedly said they want the vaccine.