World War II veteran among the first to get COVID-19 vaccine at Phoenix VA

History was made at the VA in Phoenix on Dec. 15, as they received their first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine into their pharmacy.

The facility started vaccinating veterans and staff at 11:00 a.m., and the first patient to receive the shot was a World War II veteran.

"We did it didn't we?" John Mohun said. "They needed volunteers, and you guys have been keeping me alive, so why shouldn't I try it?"

Mohun is among the five veterans and 15 VA employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech, and the VA in Phoenix is one of the 37 VA sites nationwide to begin vaccinations.
"We started with some of our veterans in the community living center, and we also have, in a different area, staff being vaccinated, so we're vaccinating our community living center staff and some of our frontline workers in the emergency room, ICU, and COVID units," said Lynn Schneider, Acting Deputy Nurse Executive with the VA.

Schneider says they have been working on this for two months, preparing to get doses, freeze them, get people vaccinated and re-vaccinated for the second dose in 18 to 21 days.

"Depending on the shipments that we're getting in, our goal is to keep vaccinating," said Schneider. "We will circle back to what we're doing today and tomorrow, but as long as we can keep going, if we're continuing to get shipments, we will continue to open it up broader and broader."

Scheider says veterans have been positive about getting the vaccine, with some even requesting it.

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)