Montana's VA Health Care System is flying COVID-19 vaccines to veterans in Lewistown Wednesday, February 24. The flight on fixed-wing aircraft will take the Moderna vaccine from the ultra-cold storage at Fort Harrison in Helena to Lewistown, where 200 inoculations are planned in the continuing distribution from the Veterans Health Administration to the state.

The Montana Veterans Health Care System is the lead site for the VA's distribution program and is documenting and sharing best practices that will be used nationwide. So far, the flights have been to Havre and Kalispell. When the doses arrive in Lewistown early Wednesday, they'll go to a temperature-controlled freezer until the vaccinations start. The Lewistown VA Clinic serves 450 veterans. The vaccination clinic will be at the Fergus County Fairgrounds. The first dose will be followed by a second dose in four weeks.

Montana VAHCS Executive Director Dr. Judy Hayman said that the system serves over 47,000 Montana Veterans. Over 5,500 Veterans have received first doses so far. If a Montana Veteran is not enrolled in the VHA healthcare, call 1-877-468-8387. Select "Option 4" to find out if you're eligible.

She also said the Montana VA Health Care System is holding an online town hall meeting Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. about the COVID-19 vaccine and distribution. The livestreamed session will have the latest updates. Dr. Hayman said, "We understand there are many questions about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution. We hope Veterans attend Thursday's virtual town hall so we can answer as many questions as possible." To connect, call 1-866-478-3358 at 5 p.m. Feb. 25 or get online to www.access.live/MontanaVATownHall. Most of the session will be question-and-answer.

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