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Asian Flu, Swine Flu, Shingles shots available — sort of

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers Asian Flu, Swine Flu and Shingles inoculations free of charge to all veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care system. The only hitch is the demand is so high some of the shots are in short supply.

The Shingles vaccination is available, but only at the Albuquerque VA Medical Center, because it has to be refrigerated at all times and cannot be shipped to outlying clinics. Availability is good right now and vets should contact their VA primary provider for approval. The local Durango clinic will provide all eligible veterans with a letter authorizing them for the shot in Albuquerque.

At last check, the Durango VA Clinic is out of the Asian Flu vaccine. They were not sure when it would be available again and veterans should call over to the clinic to check on availability. The Swine Flue vaccine won’t be available until some time in October.

Update on travel money

At this writing, we still do not have our Colorado Veterans Trust Fund money for travel reimbursement, though I do expect it any day. Meanwhile, we do have gas and lodging credit cards available to assist with VAHC travel requirements.

Remember, if you are eligible for travel pay for Albuquerque VAMC trips, you are also eligible from the VA for trips to Durango and Farmington. I will be happy to assist you in applying for this benefit.

Oddly, The VA only pays half the normal amount of travel reimbursement for a flu shot, x-ray, etc. No explanation was given for that little kernel of information. So, if you go to Durango for a flu shot, you would only get half travel pay from them (about $22). I still pay the full amount ($25). Why split hairs over that? But if you drive to Albuquerque VAMC for the Shingles shot (and no other medical appointments), you will only get about $88 instead of usual $177 (based on 41.5 cents a mile.). I would suggest you wait until you have another medical appointment in Albuquerque VAMC and then get the Shingles shot.

One final note about travel pay is that if you collect the full amount of travel pay for an appointment in Albuquerque you are not eligible for travel or lodging pay from our limited local funds. Those funds should be used to assist veterans who do not get any help from the VA for travel money.

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC van from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Mike Dunaway, 247-2198, and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays, call Harriet Mulnix, (505) 793-1782.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. 3rd Ave. Durango, CO 81301 (the old Mercy Medical Center). Phone number is 247-2214.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.