Planning is underway at VA to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. VA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a phased plan based on five core ethical pillars: safety, maximizing the benefit of the vaccine, equity, fairness and transparency.

Veteran and employee safety remain our #1 priority. The plan takes into consideration a number of risk factors, including risks of acquiring infection, severe illness and death if infected, and transmitting the disease, as well as the risk to essential workers, including health care personnel.

VA medical centers across the country performed planning exercises in late October to prepare for initial receipt of the vaccine.

Offering the vaccine first to health care personnel and Veterans

Initially, we expect supplies to be limited. Based on these risk factors, VA will offer the vaccine first to high-risk health care personnel (HCP), as they are essential in continuing to care for patients throughout the pandemic. As more vaccines become available, VA will offer the vaccine to high-risk Veterans. VA’s ultimate goal is to offer it to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.

Preparing VA facilities

VA medical centers across the country performed planning exercises in late October to prepare for initial receipt of the vaccine. These exercises help sites determine how they will distribute immunizations. They based the decisions on the number of doses available and coordinated communications with Veterans to schedule their immunization.

They also addressed ordering, storage, handling, and administration of the vaccine.

Listening to Veterans

Additionally, VA has been conducting listening sessions and interviews with Veterans across the country to gauge their interest and determine the best methods for reaching out to our diverse Veteran population.

Your local medical facility will update you as vaccines become available.

Important resources

Jane Kim, MD, MPH, is the chief consultant for Preventive Medicine at the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, VA Patient Care Services.

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Published on Nov. 17, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 1,242


  1. WILLIAM DUMOND December 2, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    What’s if I opt out?

  2. Gayle Blakely November 20, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    (1) How long do we have to wait AFTER getting the influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccinations BEFORE taking the new Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 vaccination? Have there been studies on the efficacy of the new coronavirus vaccination when multiple vaccinations are taken together, taken a month apart, etc.?

    (2) If there are two or more approved coronavirus vaccinations, will the VA (a) get only one type of coronavirus vaccination; (b) get two or more types of coronavirus vaccinations and then utilize randomized selection to disseminate the differing coronavirus vaccinations; (c) disseminate the specific coronavirus vaccinations according to severity risk of veterans with known or suspected or pre-screened underlying conditions; or (d) utilize freedom-to-choose as an option for veterans to be adequately informed about the risks and benefits of each type of coronavirus vaccination and which one would be beneficial to them, given proper screening beforehand (- not on a whim and not based on past and potentially inaccurate info when conditions may have changed during the past year while this pandemic has worsened many physiological and psychological conditions)?

    (3) Should there be pre-screening involved for veterans who suspect that their underlying conditions haven’t been adequately documented, such as those who might meet the high-risk criteria if their BMI increased to 30 or more, or those who might be prediabetic, etc., just in case there are varying degrees to which the different types of coronavirus vaccinations are disseminated?

    (4) Is the emergency use of coronavirus vaccinations part of the unspoken or unnamed “Phase 4 clinical trials” with or without the consent of staff and veterans, since the “warp speed” may have overlooked and undermined the efficacy during phases 1 through 3? Will all participants and/or patients be adequately informed of the risks and their choice to wait on taking the vaccination at a later time?

    (5) Can veterans elect to wait on efficacy reports for the “emergency use” and/or “Phase 4 clinical trials” of the vaccination tested on the first cases receiving the vaccination BEFORE they choose to take the vaccination themselves?

    There are many questions that consumers, patients, and staff could be asking in order to preserve their patient rights, their employment rights, etc., especially as it pertains to safety, unless otherwise stipulated in contracts where participants get no say. Can you please elaborate on any or all of the above in your FAQs in the near future regarding these plans for coronavirus vaccination disseminations?

  3. Kenneth Mayer November 20, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Glad to hear the VA is giving Covid-19 vaccine to veterans……I hope it won’t be as problematic as the Flu shot I tried to get… I went to Walgreens….got it the same day!!!!!! Please advise me as to when I can get the vaccine…..77 years old with Diabetes & Arthritis……..Vietnam veteran

  4. Joe Gonzales November 18, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Hello VA

    It is a relief to read that the VA is preparing to handle the distribution of the COVID vaccine. From ready the article it seems that the vaccine will be offered to Veterans at no cost which is good to hear. I remember listening to our former President Speaking to the American people back in May 2020 that unfortunately all Americans would not be able to afford the vaccine when it becomes available. It is good to hear now that one, that person was voted out of office and will hopefully not be able to prosper financially off the
    Vaccine, and second that our new President will ensure that all the people in the United States will be able to receive the vaccine at no charge. I am grateful that the VA always makes Veterans a top priority but I also believe this vaccine should be available to everyone regardless of socio economic status.

    Thank you

    • Frank Doyle November 18, 2020 at 2:32 pm

      Joe, stop with the made up crap, grow up and be a man!

  5. Jerome Sachs November 18, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Can my wife get the shot at the same time?

  6. Lawrence pate November 17, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    I had cancer and a stroke am I high risk.?

  7. Mary Jane Pendl-Trigilio November 17, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    is the VA looking for VA Employees to volunteer, be detailed or do TDY at VAMCs to assist with the vaccination distribution?

  8. Stephen R Puckett November 17, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Sounds great to me, I’m a senior and have diabetes…never though I would brag about that.

  9. WILLIAM FLAVIN November 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I a wondering if the VA will vaccinate dependents along with veterans. I don’t plan on getting vaccinated if my wife can’t get it at the same time.

Comments are closed.

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