Every Veteran, spouse and caregiver in America eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
About six million enrolled Veterans use VA health care, and VA has successfully given at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to more than two million of those Veterans, with more getting vaccinated every day.
But there’s still more to do: VA will vaccinate every Veteran and spouse and caregiver.
In recognition of our success, Congress passed and the President signed the SAVE LIVES Act. This act gives VA the job of delivering vaccine to all Veterans in America – whether they’re enrolled in VA health care or not – as well as their spouses and their caregivers.
Within 48 hours after the President signed that bill, we began testing our existing vaccination delivery systems in order to determine how long it will take us to get about 30 million additional people enrolled and vaccinated. In two days of testing, we safely and successfully vaccinated 1,000 Veterans, spouses and caregivers who would not normally be eligible for a VA vaccination. That vaccination rate will only increase as we expand our capacity and take delivery of more and more doses of vaccine.
It’s a big job, but we can handle it
As we do that, I’d like to ask you for a bit of patience. It’s a huge task, but VA health care can handle it, as we have handled every new challenge during this pandemic. We just need a bit of time to make sure that Veterans, spouses and caregivers who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination can sign up and get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
We will continue to update you as we move ahead. Thank you for trusting us with your care and with your vaccination.
Dr. Richard Stone is the acting secretary for health at the Veterans Health Administration. He is a retired Army major general and Veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He was born and raised in Michigan and is a proud alumnus of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.