Veterans and frontline workers at the Sioux Falls VA begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Moderna vaccine has arrived in Sioux Falls for our nation’s heroes.

Wednesday, the Sioux Falls VA began vaccinating frontline workers, but also some of their long term care patients.

Even a blinding snow blizzard couldn’t stop the first round of covid-19 vaccinations at the Sioux Falls VA.

Casey Davidson was the very first veteran to receive the Moderna vaccine at the VA.

“There are so many people in need, so many people who should get it, they explained the reasons as to why I was getting it, so I just really felt honored,” Davidson said.

The VA began vaccinating its high risk long term patients first, even before its frontline workers.

Davidson is considered high risk, because of lung problems.

He’s been here for almost a year and has been on lockdown.

Now that he’s received the vaccine, he’s hoping to go home in a couple of weeks.

“After the problems I went through last year with my lungs, I didn’t think I’d make it through an infection if it took hold at all, so it’s a big weight lifted off me, a big worry was taken away,” Davidson said.

Dina Censk is the nurse who administered the very first vaccine at the Sioux Falls VA.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to administer the COVID vaccine to the very first Veteran in our facility. We have spent so much time and effort in ensuring all staff wear the proper PPE, screening all who comes onto our unit, and keeping staff home if sick in order to keep our Veteran’s safe,” Censk said. “We are so grateful to be able to say that we have remained COVID free on our CLC’s this entire year.”

“It’s a big day for the Sioux Falls VA,” RN Claire Forster said.

Forster, who is a registered nurse here, was one of the first frontline workers to receive the vaccine.

She works directly with those long term care patients, like Davidson. Forster says the vaccine will be a game changer.

“I think it’s going to open our doors to have visitors again in the future, it’s down the road, but the Veterans we care for are here for long periods of time and a lot of them haven’t seen their families in months,” Forster said.

Like Davidson who can’t wait, to finally, go home.

“Of all the vaccines I’ve taken as a Veteran we get lots and lots of shots but this is the one I feel the best about,” Davidson said. “If you’re worried about vaccines this is not the one to worry about.”

The VA only has four patients right now with covid.

It received 900 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

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