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Martinsburg VA doctor says steroids have provided “greatest value” treating COVID-19

01/28/2021  UPDATE concerning scheduled walk-in vaccination clinic:

The Martinsburg VA Medical Center has canceled today’s planned vaccination event after having “an overwhelming response to our vaccination efforts over the past several days.”

At this time, based on vaccine supply, they say they are now offering vaccine by appointment only to enrolled Veterans receiving care at VA.

Care teams will directly contact eligible Veterans who meet current CDC and VHA guidelines to schedule future appointments.

Veterans with scheduled appointments for their first or second vaccine dose should keep their appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at their scheduled location.

They are encouraging veterans and their caregivers to check back frequently for updates regarding  vaccination efforts and monitor our webpage: https://www.martinsburg.va.gov/services/covid-19-vaccines.asp

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A walk-in vaccination clinic for veterans 65 and older will continue through Thursday afternoon at the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg.

Dr. Michael Zapor (Veterans Administration)

The veterans have to be enrolled with the VA. The agency is also vaccinating veterans who are essential personnel. The clinic will continue 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.

Martinsburg VA Medical Center Deputy Chief of Staff Dr. Michael Zapor said while avoiding the virus and getting vaccinated against it are still best practices, the VA is learning a great deal about treating it.

“It’s obviously a viral infection but after the first few days it really transitions to more of a systemic inflammatory response and the role of antivirals becomes less and less and the value of steroids becomes greater,” Zapor said during an appearance recently on Panhandle Live on MetroNews affiliate WEPM Radio in Martinsburg.

Zapor, an infectious disease specialist, said even though each patient is different, he believes there is one treatment that seems to be the most helpful.

“If I had to pick on therapeutic out of all of the stuff we’ve used, my pick would be steroids have proven to have the greatest value,” Zapor said.

Zapor said COVID-19 can have lingering after-effects. He said he originally underestimated the impact.

“We started to see how transmissible the virus is and also the chronic complications of COVID infection things like coagulopathy, cardio vascular disease, altered mental status and so forth,” Zapor said