VAGLAHS Begins COVID-19 Vaccines at Bakersfield VA Clinic - VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
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VAGLAHS Begins COVID-19 Vaccines at Bakersfield VA Clinic

January 21, 2021


VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Press Release header. Office of Public Affairs Media Relations (310) 268-3340

VAGLAHS Begins COVID-19 Vaccines at Bakersfield VA Clinic

LOS ANGELES VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) announces COVID-19 vaccinations at its Bakersfield community-based outpatient clinic January 21.

As part of its ongoing efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to its more than 87,000 enrolled Veterans, VAGLAHS will offer vaccinations to Veterans assigned to the Bakersfield VA Clinic in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved priority groups.

“We are excited to expand our vaccination efforts to Bakersfield as we work to get vaccines to every Veteran who receives care with the Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System,” said Rob Merchant, Executive Director, Ambulatory Care Services, VAGLAHS. “We are working diligently to reach and vaccinate as many Veterans as soon as possible, while continuing to care for Veterans affected by this deadly virus.”

The initial phase of vaccinations at the clinic will be offered to enrolled, health care eligible Veterans within groups that include; health care personnel, long-term care facility residents, persons aged 65 years and older, high-risk Veterans (transplant, hemodialysis, spinal cord injury, etc.), and frontline essential workers. For this effort, frontline essential workers include; first responders (firefighters and police) educators (teachers, support staff, daycare), food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.

“The way I looked at it, there are quite a few who didn’t make it through COVID. And I thought they went to all the trouble to make it (the vaccine), so I wanted to have it,” said Billy Franklin Ursery, 87-year-old Korean War Veteran and Bakersfield VA Clinic patient. “What I went through in the service in Korea, I wasn’t too afraid of a shot.”

Veterans enrolled for care at the clinic will be offered vaccines as more doses become available.

“We are expanding vaccine administration to more and more Veterans as our supply of vaccine allows,” noted Steven Simon, MD, Chief of Staff, VAGLAHS. “In addition to wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, getting vaccinated is the most important thing we can do to end the pandemic,”

Veterans assigned to the clinic will be contacted by clinic staff for COVID-19 screening and scheduling for vaccinations. Veterans must be eligible for Veterans Health Administration (VHA) healthcare and enrolled at the Bakersfield Clinic to receive the vaccine.

“Kern County is a unique and important part of our healthcare system. Like the Veterans we are honored to serve, our Bakersfield staff are proud members of this community,” said Merchant. “Our number one priority is the health and safety of Veterans. This vaccine will enable us to continue providing them the high-quality health care they’ve earned.”

Veterans assigned to the clinic will be offered the Pfizer Vaccine as part of the larger VAGLAHS vaccine program. Each VHA facility received one of the two Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines.

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For any media queries, please contact Donnell Evans, Public Affairs Specialist, VAGLAHS, at or call 310-478-3711 Ext 49153.


ABOUT VAGLAHS: VAGLAHS is one component of the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN22) offering services to Veterans residing in Southern California. VAGLAHS consists of two ambulatory care centers, a tertiary care facility and 9 community-based outpatient clinics. VAGLAHS serves Veterans residing throughout five counties: Kern, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. There are approximately 1.4 million Veterans in the VAGLAHS service area. For more information, call (310) 268-3340 or visit us at Veterans in need can call the VA hotline toll-free at 877-4-AID-VET