Zero COVID deaths among Veteran Affairs patients for the first time in 14 months

man holding a vaccine stciker in his hand

We had good news from Veteran Affairs officials on Monday for the first time in 14 months. There are no new COVID-related deaths in medical centers across the department, an encouraging sign that the pandemic could end. Since the start of March 2020, more than 12,060 VA patients and 142 VA staff members had died from complications from the virus.

Dr. Richard Stone, acting undersecretary for health at VA said: “When you reconsider the deaths of more than 12,000 veterans, it is a sober day”. He continued; “No death is proof of the hard work our people do to get the people vaccinated, and it highlights that the vaccine works.”

The VA death totals equate to about 27 individuals lost each day over the course of the pandemic in America. This number may not be including all veterans, since many do not use department hospitals as their primary medical care.

But in the last few months, that number has slowed considerably. About 300 VA patients have died from coronavirus-related conditions in the last month. In January, that total was more than 2,400.

Stone said he hopes veterans and their family members take that positive news as evidence that getting all Americans vaccinated is a critical and ongoing goal.

The Vaccine Works…

“The vaccine works,” he said. “We got to zero because it does work. But not everyone is protected. And until we get to the point of everyone being protected, we’re going to keep working.”

Department of Veteran Affairs staff have administered more than 6 million vaccines to veterans, their relatives, their caregivers and federal workers in the last six months. About 3 million individuals are fully vaccinated, getting both doses of the two-shot regimen or receiving the single-shot vaccine.

But Stone said that total has decreased significantly of late, down from a peak of about 50,000 vaccinations a day in early spring to less than 10,000 a day now. (Continue reading)

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