FORT KNOX, Ky.— The Robley Rex VA Medical Center is administering doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at the Fort Knox Community Based Outpatient Clinic.
"I felt like I did my part then, I want to do my part now," explains veteran Ralph Humphrey.
Veterans like Humphrey who protected and served our country received a line of defense against COVID-19.
The retired Army vet says he managed to get the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine through the Fort Knox Community Based Outpatient Clinic while he was at the VA for other medical reasons.
"I know this isn’t the cure-all, but however it makes me feel more comfortable having this shot for protection for my loved ones.
For this Army veteran getting his COVID-19 vaccine shot was personal, "My mother is 94-years-old and I haven’t seen her in a year or so and I want to go see her," says Humphrey.
Since December, the Fort Knox healthcare system has been administering vaccines to our heroes
Brian Vaught, nurse manager a the VA clinic at Fort Knox tells Spectrum News 1, "We are indebted to this population and we try to fulfill the promise of the VA every day and this is really special that it’s going out to them."
Unlike the Moderna vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doesn’t need to be stored in ultracold temperatures.
And that's not the only thing that makes this third vaccine a game-changer according to Vaught. "Being a single dose and being able to be stored the way it can be stored at our clinic it is a great advantage to us logistically."
For recipients like David Vice, the convenience of a single dose has won over the Army and National Guard Veteran.
"This way I don’t have to worry about coming back or I don’t have to worry about the availability of a second dose so one shot, one kill," said Vice.
The vet, who is also a recovered COVID-19 patient, says it’s worth it as it adds another cushion of protection. "I had the virus back in November. So, I’m getting this just to be on the safe side and make sure because we don’t know long the antibodies are going to protect me from getting it again," explains Vice.
One issue with the J & J vaccine is the lack of supply, but that’s expected to improve. "We expect to get more and as we get more, we’ll ramp up more," suggests Vaught.
For now, the special delivery is giving hope to the men and women who have been through so much.
"I’m ready to go home and tell her, 'hey baby I got mine done,'" adds Humphrey.
Vaught says they are hoping to expand their effort to administering the Johnson & Johnson to more veterans in the future.
At this time, The Fort Knox Community Based Outpatient Clinic is not accepting appointments.