Veterans groups join forces to help distribute coronavirus vaccines nationwide

Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center registered nurse Patricia Stamper gives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Army veteran Mark Maloney, 85, at the hospital on December 16, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. The Eastern Colorado VA Health Care System was chosen as one of 37 VA centers around the country to receive a shipment of the vaccine because of their ability to store the vaccine at extremely cold temperatures and vaccinate a large number of people.
Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center registered nurse Patricia Stamper gives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Army veteran Mark Maloney, 85, at the hospital on December 16, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado. The Eastern Colorado VA Health Care System was chosen as one of 37 VA centers around the country to receive a shipment of the vaccine because of their ability to store the vaccine at extremely cold temperatures and vaccinate a large number of people. Photo credit Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Major national veteran service organizations are joining forces to help distribute coronavirus vaccines across the country.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Team Rubicon, Student Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, The Mission Continues and Team Red, White & Blue formed the "Veterans Coalition for Vaccination," the groups announced Thursday, with the goal of "ensuring each American who wants the vaccine has equitable access to it."

While vaccine supplies have been limited so far, the coalition hopes that its nationwide network of volunteers can help "support vaccination requests from major cities to rural communities" that may be facing strains on medical systems and resources including medical staff as they battle the pandemic.

The coalition plans to provide volunteers to help with vaccine distribution and "reduce the demands on healthcare workers," including with site setup for vaccination clinics, logistics support, volunteer healthcare workers to supplement staff and actually administering the vaccine where appropriate.

"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is honored to team up with Team Rubicon and our other coalition partners in this important vaccination distribution effort," IAVA CEO, Jeremy Butler said in a statement Thursday. "In continuing our pandemic response and the fight against COVID-19, IAVA looks forward to providing volunteer opportunities for our members, raising awareness and ultimately ensuring all Americans have access to vaccines."

The coalition is also partnering with an advertising company that has already launched public service announcement campaigns aimed at combating "misinformation about the spread of COVID-19" and now will produce campaigns "ensuring credible information about vaccine efficacy is delivered across the United States."

To volunteer: https://helpout.teamrubiconusa.org/calendar.

Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.

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