VA Hospital battles vaccine hesitancy among veterans

MADISON, Wis.– Calls are out to not only get your vaccine, but to reconsider if you said no the first time.

Assistant Director at Madison’s VA Hospital, Abe Rabinowitz, said they’re focused on vaccinating veterans who haven’t gotten a shot yet.

“We have about 16,500 veterans who have been vaccinated so far,” Rabinowitz said.

Now, just like other vaccinators, Madison’s VA Hospital is fighting vaccine hesitancy.

“People have concerns about either the safety of the vaccine or side effects from the vaccine or some who feel like I’ve already had COVID and I don’t need to get the vaccine,” Rabinowitz said.

Rabinowitz said the hospital’s next step is aggressive outreach and education.

“Give people facts about the importance of vaccination, about the safety of vaccines, and really doing everything we can to encourage them to make an informed decision,” Rabinowitz said.

The VA is reaching out directly to unvaccinated, minority veterans, and offering a one-on-one conversation about their choice.

“Address any concerns that they have and to talk to them about the safety protocols that have been put in place, both to vet the vaccines, but also the results that we’ve seen so far with vaccination and the efficacy of the vaccine,” Rabinowitz said.

Rabinowitz said they’ll keep fighting the good fight as long as it takes, protecting those who stepped up to protect us.

“Our goal is to maximize vaccination. We’re not going to stop. We’re going to continue to offer vaccinations until everybody has has multiple opportunities to consider it, and to make the choice to get vaccinated,” Rabinowitz said.

Veterans’ spouses and caregivers can also register for a vaccine appointment at the VA online.