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West Haven VA Selected to Receive Initial Shipment of Pfizer Vaccine After Blumenthal Urges VA to Protect Connecticut Veterans

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – After U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, pressed the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that Connecticut veterans are among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the VA announced that West Haven VA had been selected to receive an initial shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.

“This major victory for Connecticut’s veterans means they’ll be prioritized for the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine within the VA system. Many of our veterans are among our most vulnerable populations, and deserve the first vaccine dose. All our veterans merit the best care.

I urged the importance of ensuring the West Haven VA receives an initial shipment of the vaccine as we look to overcome obstacles and challenges to delivering the vaccine to veterans’ health facilities. I’m proud of this victory for Connecticut’s veterans and I will continue to be a strong advocate for them, and work to ensure their health is made a top priority.”

During Wednesday’s Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, Blumenthal questioned Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) on the deployment of a COVID-19 to VA facilities. During the hearing, Dr. Stone indicated that Connecticut would not be among the first sites to receive the vaccine, and Blumenthal “I’m going to ask that Connecticut be included as one of the sites for the dry ice and my staff will be in touch with you.”

During Thursday’s Commerce Transportation Subcommittee Hearing on “The Logistics of Transporting a COVID-19 Vaccine,” Blumenthal highlighted the Bozrah-based company, Gilman Brothers, which has worked to create a vaccine transport system and again, emphasized the importance in selecting the West Haven VA to receive an initial shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.

“I’m proud to say that a number of efforts by manufacturers are innovating in this area on cold storage and transport. In fact, I attended a virtual demonstration of the Bozrah-based Gilman Brothers’ vaccine transport system demonstrating their capability for vaccine transportation and I think that kind of innovation and invention can help in the massive and I emphasize massive, challenge of distribution. People expect that it will arrive at their local CVS tomorrow because that’s the way American enterprise works but I recognize you have great challenges ahead,” Blumenthal said.

“I want to emphasize one particular aspect of this challenge, which actually arose yesterday in a hearing of the Veteran’s Affairs committee. The head of the Veteran’s Affairs heath system indicated that they are facing obstacles and challenges to deliver the vaccine to their health facilities, that is veterans’ health facilities. They are in the age group that is most vulnerable, many of them are veterans of wars of decades ago and they need this vaccine and they need it right away. They’re going to get it hopefully through their veterans’ facilities like the West Haven facility in Connecticut which right now is apparently not on the list to receive it because of these logistical obstacles so maybe you could address that aspect of the issues.”