Veterans say they waited hours for vaccines at VA drive-thru event

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Veterans said a vaccination event at a metro Atlanta VA hospital was a disaster that left some stuck in traffic for hours.

Channel 2 Action News fielded dozens of calls Saturday morning about long wait times at Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Clairmont Road.

Channel 2′s Christian Jennings was at the V.A., where the event started at 8 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

Around noon, there were cars lined up as far as the eye could see in both directions. The line stretched more than a mile.

Many veterans said they showed up several hours before their scheduled appointment times, which may have contributed to the congestion.

Clifford Foy and his wife Ada said they waited in line for hours Saturday morning.

“I’ve been in that line since 6:30 a.m.,” Foy said “Finally, it’s moving now.”

[LINK: Where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia]

The hospital posted a message on its website asking veterans with vaccine appointments to only come at their designated times. A flier for the event advertised vaccinations by appointment -- but also for essential workers on a first-come, first-served basis from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“My wife, she got vaccinated at Emory and that’s really organized, but this is a real mess,” Foy said. “I don’t know who came up with this idea, but whoever did they should put him somewhere else.”

The VA Healthcare System released a statement Saturday night, saying:

“On February 13, we successfully vaccinated more than 2,800 Veterans in the metro Atlanta area, and extended our normal vaccination clinic hours to 10 p.m., to accommodate as many veterans as possible.

We acknowledge receiving an overwhelming response to our COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru clinic which led to unexpected traffic delays for many with appointments. We sincerely apologize and are working to rescheduled missed appointments as soon as possible.

We continue to assess our vaccination efforts and will make logistical improvements moving forward. To date, the Atlanta VA has already administered more than 7,800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our goal is to vaccinate every eligible and enrolled veteran who wants a vaccine, in accordance with CDC guidelines.”

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