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Chicago-area Veterans Affairs hospitals now offering COVID vaccines to at-risk vets

Hines VA in Maywood and Jesse Brown VA in Chicago are offering shots to veterans over 65.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Chicago-area veterans who meet eligibility requirements can now get the coronavirus vaccine at local Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Edward Hines, Jr. VA hospital in suburban Maywood is offering coronavirus vaccines to veterans over the age of 65, or those who have existing medical conditions that put them more at risk. Veterans must be Hines-enrolled patients.

To see the criteria for receiving a vaccine from Hines, go to hines.va.gov/emergency/index.asp. If you meet the criteria, call the Hines VA at (708) 202-2707 or (708) 202-7000 to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago is also offering coronavirus vaccines to veterans 65 and older, or those in high-risk health categories. Patients at Jesse Brown who meet this criteria can call 312-569-5801 to schedule an appointment.

Veterans served by Lovell Federal Health Center in Lake County are eligible to be vaccinated if they are 75 years or older, or if they are chemotherapy, dialysis or transplant patients. Lovell will call patients who meet the criteria at lovell.fhcc.va.gov to schedule vaccine appointments.

The announcement that vaccines will be distributed to patients is welcome news for the VA, which has been hard-hit by coronavirus in Illinois. In December, Gov. Pritzker mobilized the Illinois National Guard to support veterans’ homes struggling with severe outbreaks.

One such home, the downstate LaSalle Veterans’ Home, had reported 36 deaths as of Friday and was subject to an investigation by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Human Services. The administrator of the LaSalle home was fired in early December, and the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs resigned on Monday.