BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 95-year-old World War II Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient has been vaccinated for COVID-19. He is the first person to be vaccinated for the virus at the Loch Raven VA Medical Center’s Community Living Center.

“Many of us here are excited to receive the vaccine which will help us to stay alive,” Murray Simon said. “The vaccine seems the best option to thwart the spread of the virus and to reduce the number of deaths.”

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Credit: Loch Raven VA Medical Center

He said he wants his fellow veterans to know there is nothing to fear about getting vaccinated.

“No side effects, and I’m already scheduled for the second dose,” he said.

Simon spent 30 months on the European front during World War II as a machine gunner and then a radio operator.

“During the war, I started as a machine gunner, and then was asked to become a radio operator. That meant in the beginning I was shooting at others, and then as a radio man, they were shooting at me!” Simon said.

He spent six years in the Army Reserve, then became an educator- first teaching social studies in middle school before earning his PhD and rising to Dean of a community college.

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The Baltimore VA Medical Center began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline healthcare employees and veterans living in long-term care units and inpatients with spinal cord injuries Tuesday.

The center is part of the initial group of 37 VA medical centers across the country that began receiving and administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week.

“We at the VA Maryland Health Care System are proud to be a part of the initial 37 VA medical centers receiving the vaccine,” said Jonathan Eckman, acting director of the health care system. “We are dedicated to ensuring all Veterans receiving care at VA and our employees are ultimately offered the vaccine.”

VA said it will distribute these vaccines at more facilities to offer the vaccine to more veterans and employees and that it will report directly to the CDC data on all vaccine doses administered by them.

Veterans seeking additional information can sign up to get updated information through VA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Keep Me Informed tool, visit the VA Coronavirus Vaccine FAQs webpage, contact their care team, or visit

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff