NEWS FROM THE VA: Vaccines available at the VA; and some pet peeves

Veterans Affairs Regional Benefit Office Togus, ME

by Gary Kennedy

Greetings my fellow veterans and friends. After many years of service, on the positive side, I find myself smitten by the need to allow some of the negatives I have been made aware of by phone, text and face to face conversations. Most of what I take in from others I must share, “pet peeves”, as well as general information for all to hear and disseminate to others in need. Before I say things that some of you don’t want to hear, let me try and answer one of our associate writers of The Town Line’s questions from last week’s issue. As I have shared myself through The Town Line for many years, now most of you know much about me. For those of you who don’t, I am a 100 percent disabled, service-connected disabled American veteran who spends most of his time helping other veterans with their V.A. related problems. Also, I try very hard to stay up with current events and share what I research with others to whom it may apply.

Debbie Walker, in last week’s I’m Just Curious article, spoke a lot about Covid-19 and the ever elusive vaccine that Moderna has introduced to the world and in this case, Maine. I can offer a few things that I am aware of, and you or Debbie can follow it up. For those of you who don’t live near the Togus V.A. facility or are not veterans, there are several things you may not be aware of. The first is the Veterans Administration has been giving out thousands of doses of the Covid vaccine to elderly veterans; those vets who are over 75 years of age. First in line were the veterans with serious comorbidities such as asthma and/or emphysema. In both of these cases the bronchi and /or air sacks in the lungs are damaged. This being said you can see the “why” of these cases being first on the list. Covid goes for the respiratory system in a big way. The health caregivers are at the top of the list as well for very obvious reasons. Without them remaining healthy the remainder of us wouldn’t stand much of a chance.

I hear that CVS Pharmacy and Walmart Pharmacy will be joining the team in the administration of the Moderna vaccine in the near future. Remember two injections must be given four weeks apart, to defeat this airborne virus. Travel is very complicated to anywhere in the world as the quarantine rules differ from one place to another. It’s much safer to have gotten both injections before planning any journey. In the case of veterans, you can call 623-8411 Ext. 4949 or 4947 for appointments. For general information on a day-by-day info search use the Website ( Also you can call public information at 623-8411 Ext. 2969. By all means share this information with others. It actually helps not only veterans but others to connect for appointments. This in turn helps others and helps our state stay on top of the ladder.

Now for some “pet peeves” that I have been avoiding but find it necessary to share. I have been part of this research myself. Most information I receive I follow up by testing the data myself. It has been brought to the attention of business as well as individuals that some wonderful benefits are being abused. The number one item I hear about is pets being allowed into, grocery stores, hospitals, etc. There are places that animals should not be allowed; no matter how much an individual may love them. Animals can carry harmful things to places of food supplies. Also, it should be obvious to most of us; areas that have sterile and aseptic environments are breached by our pets. A few years back we began a caregiver program for the military which allowed “Service Dogs” which were trained and certified as companions for the veterans who were blind or nearly so as well as PTSD patients. It seems this has evolved in a ridiculous way. Some people carry French poodles, cats and various other animals. This is beginning to cause problems for those with a real medical/emotional need. There are even many people who are allergic to some animals. This has forced some businesses to post signs that state, “Service Dogs only.” If you think about it there are reasons why animals are being barred from planes and places where sanitary conditions must be strictly enforced. If you haven’t seen a picture of pet dander then perhaps you should research it. It’s not pleasant.

Last but certainly not least. There are those who illegally take handicapped parking spots. Also some doctors give out handicapped letters for state licensing use which allow some, not only close to destination parking but negates the legitimate parking of those with a real handicap. I have tested this on several occasions and I must admit some people really disgust me. Also, it’s illegal. (The handicapped person must be in the vehicle). Some handicap permits are used to avoid fees, taxes; again illegal and unfair. Because you’re fat and /or elderly it doesn’t mean you need to take advantage of handicap privilege. You are doing both yourself and those truly handicapped a disservice. Exercise will help keep the old ticker strong. Do yourself a favor and take a walk. Do the truly handicapped person a favor and allow them to shop. Their world is smaller than yours. There are many ways to show love and respect. If you think of each other as family our days will find so much fulfillment and satisfaction. A healthy glow on ones face is the best sleeping pill one can imagine. “Things are tough right now for all of us but doing the right thing is the right thing to do.” Remember someday you will be there as well. God bless and have a safe, thoughtful, considerate and wonderful day.


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