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Southeast Texas veterans seeking COVID-19 vaccine face challenges due to limited supply

KBMT-TV Beaumont-Port Arthur, logo KBMT-TV Beaumont-Port Arthur, 1/28/2021 James Grant, Kierra Sam
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The federal government is reimbursing states that use the National Guard to help give out shots. But those who have hung up the uniform and retired from service are having a hard time finding a place to get the vaccine.

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The Beaumont Veterans Affairs clinic doesn't have any shots. But there is a way qualified veterans can still sign up.

Maureen Dyman, communications director for Houston VA clinic said the Beaumont VA clinic hasn't received any vaccines yet largely because it doesn't have the deep refrigeration needed to store the vaccines.

The limited vaccine supply is also complicating things. Dyman said there are more than 130,000 veterans in our region alone, so, getting to everyone is going to be a tall task.  

To help reach veterans in our area, the Houston VA clinc has offered to help.

Starting Wednesday, the VA clinic in Houston will be vaccinating veterans 70 years and older.

Those interested can call 713-794-8985 to book an appointment.

"They can call to make an appointment during the week or they can walk in this weekend at our clinic on Saturday," said Jonetta Andrepont, veteran from Southeast Texas.

RELATED: Here's how you can sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in Southeast Texas

She called the Beaumont VA clinic to ask about a shot. Someone there told her she'd be notified when they received the vaccine.

She's still waiting to hear from them. In the meantime, she got another call from the Houston VA clinic offering her a chance to get vaccinated there.

But, that commitment comes with some concerns.

"I don't know if I really want to drive all the way to Houston, get the vaccine,” Andrepont said. “What if I'm not feeling well? What if there's some kind of reaction?"

Ronnie Moon is another local veteran who’s also hesitant to commit to driving to Houston.

"That's an hour and a half drive, and I don't even go to the VA hospital anymore because I'm disabled," Moon said.

Since then, Moon has updated his plans. Both he and his brother have scheduled appointments at the VA hospital in Houston. The drive will be a bit easier since the two can travel together.

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