As of Feb. 3, 2021, VA is providing COVID-19 vaccine to the following groups:
- Veterans living in VA long-term care facilities
- Veterans who already receive care at VA and are at high risk from COVID-19 based on VA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk criteria. At many VA health care facilities, this group includes all Veterans who are at least 75 years old. Each facility will determine when Veterans in this group can receive a vaccine. They’ll base this decision on vaccine availability, local needs, and the strict vaccine storage and handling requirements of the vaccines.
- Family caregivers who are enrolled in VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). PCAFC Caregivers are eligible for vaccination when the Veteran they care for becomes eligible. VA will tell the family caregiver if they can get a vaccine when VA invites the Veteran to get one.
- VA health care personnel. Vaccinating VA health care personnel helps continue to provide care for Veterans.
VA is first prioritizing Veterans who are actively receiving health care from VA. If Veterans are not currently receiving health care through VA, find out eligibility and how to apply here.
How can Veterans find out when they can get the vaccine?
Veterans and caregivers can sign up for an easy way to stay informed about getting a COVID-19 vaccine through VA at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.
When Veterans and caregivers sign up, VA will also ask about vaccine plans. A local VA health facility may use this information to determine when to contact Veterans and caregivers once their risk group becomes eligible.
Note: VA will contact every eligible Veteran in each risk group. Veterans don’t need to sign up to get a vaccine.
How will VA contact Veterans when they’re eligible to get a vaccine?
Veterans enrolled in and eligible for VA health care can receive personalized COVID-19 vaccine information from VA in three different ways.
1. By text message
VA’s VEText program reminds Veterans of upcoming appointments via text message. Veterans may also receive text message updates about availability and scheduling for COVID-19 vaccines.
Veterans may receive one of three different types of messages. All text messages will tell Veterans their facility is offering the vaccine and will come from the short phone number 53079.
- Some facilities will invite the Veteran to make a vaccine appointment directly by text message.
- Other facilities will provide instructions on a number to call to schedule a vaccine
- Some facilities are also using text message to notify Veterans of vaccination events, such as drive-through clinics, for eligible risk groups.
Every enrolled Veteran with a cell phone number listed in their health record is automatically enrolled receive text messages. Veterans who receive care at VA should make sure their cell phone number is up to date in their VA.gov profile. This is the number a VA health facility will use to contact a Veteran by text. Veterans can update phone numbers online at https://www.va.gov/profile/. Veterans can also update contact information during check-in at an appointment. Please don’t call a facility to update a phone number.
Learn more about VEText at https://www.va.gov/HEALTH/VEText_FAQs.asp.
2. Via email
Veterans who sign up to stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines will receive general updates via email. Veterans who subscribe to Vet Resources or My HealtheVet may also receive periodic updates about VA’s vaccination efforts along with helpful reminders. Emails from VA will always come from a va.gov email address.
VA is also using email to let Veterans know about upcoming opportunities to get a vaccine at their local VA health facility. These emails may also contain information on why a Veteran should consider getting the vaccine, which vaccine they may receive, and instructions on how to make an appointment or when to arrive for a vaccination event.
Veterans who receive care at VA should check their VA.gov profile at https://www.va.gov/profile/ to make sure their email address is up to date.
3. Via U.S. Postal Service mail
VA is also sending out letters in the mail to tell Veterans how to receive the vaccine.
Veterans who receive care at VA should check their VA.gov profile at https://www.va.gov/profile/ to make sure their mailing address is up to date.
Second dose reminders
After a Veteran receives the first dose, they will receive follow up information reminding them to come in for their second dose. These reminders may come via VEText, email or regular mail—the same ways the Veteran received the first notification.
Find answers to general VA COVID-19 vaccine questions at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/.
To receive ongoing updates about VA’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts and to indicate your interest in getting the vaccine once you’re eligible, visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed.
Read the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download.
Read the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet at https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download.