Passage of SAVES LIVES Act Allows Iron Mountain VA to More Widely Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine

Apr 8, 2021

Credit Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

The Iron Mountain VA Medical Center has roughly 18,000 veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare in its service area which covers the Upper Peninsula the parts of northern Wisconsin.

Of those a little under half have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine through the VA.

“We are generally scheduling appointments every day for veterans to get the vaccine, so although it has slowed, it hasn’t stopped,” said Public Affairs Officer John Jamison.

The center is encouraging all veterans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  And now, it’s able to help get more veterans and the people close to them vaccinated.

President Joe Biden recently signed the SAVES LIVES Act.  It gives the VA the ability to vaccinate not only enrolled veterans, but their spouses, widows, caregivers, and other veterans.

“Now that it has opened up, anyone who has served in the military is eligible to vaccinated through the VA,” said Jamison.

Anyone who is getting their vaccine through the VA needs fill out an online form on the VA’s website. Someone will be in touch with you about scheduling an appointment.  People can also call (906) 774-3300, extension 33115, to let the VA know that you are interested in the vaccine.

There’s been regular vaccination clinics at all seven of its outpatient clinics, including Ironwood and Rhinelander.

“We do encourage them to take the first opportunity they have. If they can get in their community, get it in the community. Whether it be their employer, the local pharmacy or public health officials. Whatever that is, if they can get it there go ahead and do that. But they are surely welcome to go to VA.gov and fill out that form,” said Jamison.

The Oscar G Johnson VA Medical Center is also allowing some patient visitation again.

The Medical Center has some level of visitor restrictions for more than year.

Jamison said before the pandemic there were some restrictions in place because of the flu.

People can now visit patients by scheduling a time, but Jamison says there are certain rules they have to follow.

“It can only be one visitor at a time, per veteran and the duration will be no more than one hour. We do ask that no visitor under the age of 18 come in and we will screen them prior to the visit for any kind of COVID-19 symptoms,” said Jamison.

To schedule a visit, you can call the following applicable numbers between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT Monday through Friday:

For a resident of the Community Living Center call (906) 774 – 3300, Extension 34500.

For an inpatient on the 4 East inpatient ward call (906) 774 – 3300, Extension 32631