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First Michigan veterans COVID vaccination clinic leads to 328 shots in arms

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More than 300 Marquette-area veterans, spouses, caregivers and others were vaccinated against COVID-19 during the first veterans vaccination clinic through a partnership between the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) and the Michigan National Guard (MING).

The vaccination clinic was held March 22 at Northern Michigan University’s Northern Center under the medical direction of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“The event was very successful as we were able to vaccinate 328 individuals,” said MVAA Health Analyst Julie Cortright, who help plan the clinic. “In addition, of those who were veterans and/or spouses, many were not previously connected to benefits and had the opportunity to do so at this event.”

The MVAA is the central coordinating agency for Michigan’s 550,000 veterans and their families and works to link them to federal and state benefits and resources, including VA disability benefits as well as health care, education and employment assistance. Veterans can call 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for assistance.

A key goal of the clinic was to reach and vaccinate the underserved veteran population and their families in the rural areas of Michigan that don’t have major VA medical facilities.

“We reached veterans that don’t use the VA, we reached veterans that wouldn’t get vaccinated at the VA because their spouse couldn’t, we reached veterans that were able to get vaccinated with their caregivers, and we reached other people that were so excited and relieved to be able to get the vaccine,” said MVAA Special Populations Coordinator Erika Hoover, who also helped plan the event.

“We were able to show that MVAA/MING care about our community and we were willing to put in the extra work to vaccinate the general population when all the vaccines weren’t spoken for by veterans, their spouses or caregivers.”