Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Lovell FHCC staff steps up to create formidable COVID-19 team

Image of Military health personnel preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Sheeba Varughese (left), IV room manager at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, and Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Robert Viloria set up for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine at the McHenry (Illinois) Community Based Outpatient Clinic. (Photo by: Navy Seaman Apprentice Minh-Thy Chu, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination effort at the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center has brought out the best in staff, many who volunteered to create a formidable team dedicated to one thing - getting shots in the arms of every staff member and as many of the FHCC's veteran, military, and military dependent patients as possible.

From the late December day the first Moderna vaccines were delivered with fanfare to the North Chicago, Illinois facility, it became apparent that what would typically be done through the Immunizations Clinic was too big of an operation for the limited clinical staff.

"We knew we had to stand up a group of people to basically volunteer to be vaccinators," said FHCC Assistant Director of Plans and Operations Kathleen Kennedy.

FHCC Gastroenterology Nurse Manager April Shaw was given the task of managing staff volunteers who would be running the staff vaccination clinic. This team dedicated six weeks to COVID-19 vaccinations for staff in the Family Practice Clinic. By the end of the seventh week, 73% of staff was vaccinated, including Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense employees.

Chief of Pharmacy, Laurie Noschese, and Regional Immunizations Program Manager, Randy Tolbert, were tasked to deploy staff vaccines. They got support from the team of volunteers including nurses, pharmacy employees, and medical support assistants.

At first, some Navy staff at Lovell FHCC were unable to access the online appointment booking tool developed at another VA facility for staff to schedule their vaccinations. Once the clinic had enough doses on hand, walk-in appointments were opened for all staff, which mitigated the issue.

As the clinic became busier, more administrative staff volunteered to manage the flow of the clinic, checking people in, handing out paperwork, and scheduling second dose appointments. This allowed clinical staff to focus on their medical roles – vaccinating and observing those who had received the vaccine. Volunteers also helped schedule appointments over the phone. According to Kennedy, there was never a shortage of volunteers to help the vaccination effort.

"COVID-19 operations have the ability to unify everyone as a team," she said. "It's something we all live through at work and at home. People really understand the significance of what they're doing."

At one point during staff vaccinations, a roving team of vaccinators and other volunteers brought the COVID-19 vaccine to Lovell FHCC Branch Clinics at Recruit Training Command and Naval Station Great Lakes, allowing staff members the convenience of getting vaccinated near their work sites, rather than at the main hospital. The ability to offer this option displayed the flexibility of the vaccination team, Kennedy added.

Since the vaccine was made available to FHCC Community Living Center residents first and then to outpatients in mid-January, the team has made similar trips to vaccinate staff and patients at Lovell FHCC's Community Based Outpatient Clinics, which don't have the capacity to operate their own COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

The start of outpatient vaccinations drastically increased the clinic's operations, from an average of 100 daily immunizations to about 250 a day. With this change, the clinic began relying more on administrative volunteers to keep the area organized and facility management staff to ensure the area was safe.

Active duty corpsmen assigned to Navy Medical Readiness and Training Command Great Lakes were another group of Lovell FHCC employees who volunteered to man the greatly expanded vaccination effort. During the mass push of Moderna vaccine doses, Navy corpsmen and VA employees were not only running the clinic but transporting patients through the hospital tramways to overcome accessibility limitations.

"It's a great opportunity for corpsmen to use the clinical skills they may not be able to use on a daily basis, depending on where they're placed in the organization," Kennedy said.

Since established in 2010 as the nation's first fully integrated federal health care center in support of both the Department of Defense and the VA, Lovell FHCC's mission is best captured through the motto, “Readying Warriors, Caring for Heroes."

One year after the coronavirus pandemic was declared, Lovell FHCC staff is still adapting to the changes in responding to the novel disease.

"The (COVID-19 vaccination) team is so focused on the patients and getting us out of this pandemic," Kennedy said. "No matter what is thrown at them, when asked if they can do it, the answer is going to be yes."

You also may be interested in...

Does CSM Gragg Have COVID-19?

Video
2/9/2022
Does CSM Gragg Have COVID-19?

CSM Gragg demonstrates how to use a COVID-19 at home rapid test.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | At-Home COVID-19 Tests | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

Video
8/24/2021
CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

CSM Gragg shares his personal story dealing with COVID and the loss associated with it and urges all to take precautions.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

Video
8/17/2021
LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

LTG Place presents his concerns over those who are still unvaccinated during these unprecedented times. Take the right steps to prevent tragedy befalling your family and schedule your vaccine today at https://tricare.mil/vaccineappointments.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

Video
8/16/2021
Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ron Place and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg talk about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is more important than ever.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Video
6/29/2021
The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Like our enemies in the past, the coronavirus has adapted and we're now dealing with the most transmissible variant yet, Delta. The fight can be won with vaccination. If you're not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus, go get your shot today. Otherwise you're at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Video
6/25/2021
The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Are you a service member age 18 to 30? Are you unvaccinated? You may be entitled to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. To avoid these options, get vaccinated today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Video
5/28/2021
Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Dr. LC Collins explains the years of research and ongoing monitoring to show how mRNA vaccines are safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. LC Collins encourages people who are breastfeeding to get the vaccine. Since the vaccine doesn't contain live virus, you can't pass COVID to your baby.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

What is an mRNA vaccine?

Video
5/28/2021
What is an mRNA vaccine?

Dr. LC Collins explains how mRNA vaccines work to protect you from COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting vaccinated even if you already had COVID. We're not sure how long natural immunity lasts, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting the first vaccine available to you. Don't hold out for a certain brand; they're all safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Town Hall May 26 2021

Video
5/26/2021
Town Hall May 26 2021

RADM Anne Swap will discuss the National Capital Region's response to COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Direct Reporting Markets

Vax Facts: Recommendations for Pregnancy

Video
5/20/2021
Vax Facts: Recommendations for Pregnancy

The COVID vaccine is recommended for pregnant people. Watch to learn how your doctor can help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Vax Facts: Risk and Precautions

Video
5/20/2021
Vax Facts: Risk and Precautions

If you're fully vaccinated, there are options for safer activities. Watch to learn what activities you can resume once you're fully vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Vax Facts: I'm fully vaccinated. What can I do?

Video
5/20/2021
Vax Facts: I'm fully vaccinated. What can I do?

If you're fully vaccinated, there are options for safer activities. Watch to learn what activities you can resume once you're fully vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 27, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.