Biloxi VA celebrates vaccinating 20,000 people

Biloxi VA celebrates vaccinating 20,000 people

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Thursday, a vaccination milestone was met at the Biloxi VA. An Air Force Vietnam Veteran represented the 20,000th person that received the COVID-19 vaccine at the center.

Joseph Howe is now a number, but a very important number. He represents the 20,000th person to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Biloxi VA.

“It means like I hit sort of a nice lotto number, right?” said Howe.

This is his second dose, and he hopes this attention will do something to get more people to do the same. And Howe added it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you got a little something extra special for the effort.

“Do I get a lollipop?” he added with a laugh after getting the shot.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Howe. “You’re being safe and you’re making it safer for other people.”

The VA medical staff made this a double ceremony due to Howe celebrating his 72th birthday.

“It’s really special to be able to celebrate that and celebrate a birthday also,” said Matthews. “I guess you can say it’s the icing on the cake.”

And Matthews hopes acknowledging these timeline moments will be a good way to keep the momentum going.

“It is important for us to get the word out that we are vaccinating,” said Matthews. “It’s important for us to be able to recognize and show individuals that are being vaccinated. And hopefully, it will encourage others in our veterans community to be vaccinated.”

Matthews added that he’s excited about the Save Lives Act that now allows all veterans, their spouses and their caregivers to receive vaccinations. The VA also offers vaccinations by appointment or walk-in service.

Howe drew on his inner Muhammad Ali to describe how getting vaccinated can make you feel.

“I’m too fast for the virus,” said Howe. “I can’t be beat. I’m way too fast!”

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