VAPIHCS Veterans,  

 This past Tuesday, the CDC and FDA’s decided to pause use of the J&J/Janssen vaccine after receiving reports of blood clotting in six people out of the over 6,800,000 people in the United States who have received the J&J vaccine. Per the national guidelines, VA is pausing the use of the J&J vaccine as the CDC and FDA continue their review. VA has not seen these serious side effects in the more than 100,000 people we have vaccinated with the J&J product at VA and the J&J vaccine has not been removed from the market.

 While it is highly unlikely that you will experience any serious adverse reactions outside of the common flu-like symptoms seen in the first day or two after vaccination, we are reaching out to ensure you are informed. The six people that had a blood clot were women under the age of 48 and experienced this adverse event within two weeks of receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine As such, VA is calling all women 55 years and younger that received the J&J vaccine to check on their health and wellbeing. We are also conducting this wellness check on everyone who received the J&J vaccine by US mail.

 People who received their vaccine at least 3 weeks ago have a low risk of developing a blood clot. The general symptoms from a blood clot include severe headaches, blurred vision, fainting, seizures, pain in your abdomen (chest or stomach), leg pain or swelling, or shortness of breath. We are asking Veterans to contact us if they had any of these symptoms within the last 3 weeks and to seek emergency care or dial 9-1-1 if symptoms are severe.

 Your health and safety are our number one priority. We are here to answer any questions and to assist you as needed. Please contact your primary care team at 1-800-214-1306 dial 0.

 We will continue to update the VA vaccine website with what we learn about the J&J vaccine. https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

The west Maui Veterans club is in the process of obtaining from 25 to 35 acres of land to be used as a Memorial Park for Veterans. It is possible that we may be able to split the land and have a civilian version to complement the overall internment needs of West Maui Veterans.
The Maui Planning department has certified the land as Quasi/public and suitable for this use. There are no Memorial Parks on the West side currently
The location is above the Honokowai waste water treatment plant and runs alongside the proposed bypass. Note that the Proposed West Maui Hospital is to be nearby. Please look at the attached map for . for Clarification.
Thank You,
Paul Laub, Memorial Park Project manager.
(Note: attachment to be sent in the near future.)

The Number To Call When You Don’t Know Who To Call

You have questions. VA has answers.
Call VA today.
1-800-MyVA411
(1-800-698-2411)
The number to call when you don’t know who to call.
You only need to remember one number for information on VA care, benefits, and services or to speak to a live agent for assistance!
1-800-MyVA411 serves all members of the Veteran and service member community seeking information or assistance.
Call for helpful information on:
  • COVID-19 general information and updates
  • Health care eligibility and enrollment
  • VA benefits, such as disability, compensation and pension, education programs, caregiver support, insurance, home loans, and burial headstones and markers, among others
  • The nearest VA medical centers, benefits offices, or cemeteries to Veterans
  • Directory assistance and connection to all VA contact centers and VA Medical Centers
  • Technical support for VA.gov
  • Debt and payment options
  • Immediate transfer to the Veterans Crisis Line or the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
Will I be able to speak to a live agent?
Yes!
When you call 1-800-MyVA411 and press 0, you will reach a live agent for immediate assistance or connection to the right VA experts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
For more information and to apply please visit FEMA here.

VAPIHCS Veterans,  

Many of you may have seen the recent news reports from across the country about the recent increase of crimes and racial discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. It’s been heartbreaking for me to read the accounts from people in our communities who were either harassed, discriminated against or attacked, simply because of their race.

On Jan. 26, President Biden published a memo, “Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” on this topic that states:

Despite these increasing acts of intolerance, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made our Nation more secure during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout our history.  An estimated 2 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have served on the front lines of this crisis as healthcare providers, as first responders, and in other essential roles.  The Federal Government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and should work to ensure that all members of AAPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity.

Many of our Veterans, employees, volunteers, friends and families, neighbors and elected representatives are of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent. As the Health Care System Director, I want to assure you that discrimination or harassment of any kind against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders or any other minority group will not be tolerated at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System. I also want to assure you that our Executive Leadership Team and I are working on identifying opportunities to help promote diversity and inclusion at all our sites of care. We are committed to being a diverse and inclusive workplace and health care organization that has the privilege to employ and care for thousands of America’s Veterans. Diversity in our workforce is a strength. Our Veterans and their loved ones, and all who walk through our doors deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

I want to assure everyone that these types of issues are important for us to address as One Team, One Ohana.

If you or someone you know has been harassed at a VAPIHCS facility, below are a few resources you can reach out to for support:

  1. Contact the VA Office of Inspector General at 1-800-488-8244.
  2. Contact the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at 1-855-429-6669 or vaaccountabilityteam@va.gov.

VHA continues to expand vaccination efforts for Veterans.

  • This week VAPIHCS will pass the 10K mark in vaccine doses administered, we are currently providing to Veterans who are eligible for VA care.  A big thank you to all of you who are working to make this all happen! 
  • As more vaccine becomes available, VAMC facilities continue to expand the priority lists for Veterans and caregivers, with some inviting all enrolled Veterans to their immunization clinics.

VHA will be implementing the Veteran-related aspects of the American Rescue Plan.

  • Public Law 117-2, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus economic relief package, was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. It ensures Veterans have continued access to quality health care and protections against COVID-19.
  • $17 billion is allocated in support of VA’s nationwide response to the pandemic and the law provides additional significant economic support to Veterans (press release).

 VA celebrates Women’s History Month.

One Team, One Ohana!

Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE

Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System

VADM, MC, USN, (RET)

36th Surgeon General, USN