LUBBOCK, Texas – Dozens of veterans lined up in hallways in groups of ten at the Lubbock Veterans Affairs Clinic to get their COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday afternoon.
Lionel Lucero, a veteran, said he had been waiting for months to get vaccinated after contracting the virus in December. Lucero said he found out after he and his family went to the emergency room thinking they all had the flu.
“They told my grandson and my wife they could go home, they had the flu, and they told me I had to stay because I had COVID,” said Lucero, “I didn’t feel like I had [COVID] but my oxygen level and blood level was low.”
Lucero said he was able to recover from COVID-19 with the help of plasma and medications, but he knows others who never recovered.
“I had a friend who passed away from COVID. He was younger than me, he was 50 and I’m 72,” said Lucero. “I strongly believe that getting the vaccine is going to help us a lot, I encourage all veterans and everyone to get it.”
Elizabeth Riggs, nurse manager for Lubbock Veterans Clinic, said in the past six to eight weeks, their staff of about 20 has been able to vaccinate over 3,000 veterans.
Riggs said they’ve been using the Moderna vaccine but that they were working to help give more options to veterans in the future.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will help open up opportunity for veterans, especially in the outlined areas to not have to make two trips to the clinic to go get the vaccine,” said Riggs.
Riggs said all veterans regardless if they’re registered to get the vaccine are eligible to get vaccinated at the Lubbock VA Clinic.