Like many health care providers, the VA is hard at work to distribute vaccines to Veterans in a phased plan based on the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Information is constantly changing so it is important to check with the VA for updates. You can also sign up to stay informed by filling out this simple form.
Can I Get A COVID-19 Vaccine?
The VA’s phased plan is in effect and these groups listed below are now being vaccinated at some VA health care facilities. (From the VA official website) There is a limited amount of the first 2 COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will be available at some VA health care facilities.
- VA health care personnel. Vaccinating our VA health care personnel helps us continue to provide care for Veterans.
- Veterans living in our long-term care facilities
- Veterans who receive care at VA and are at high risk from COVID-19 based on VA and 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, as well as the strict storage and handling requirements of the vaccines.
- Family caregivers who are enrolled in our Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) are eligible for vaccination when the Veteran they care for becomes eligible. If the Veteran you care for meets the criteria above, both you and the Veteran may be able to get vaccinated now. Vaccinating caregivers helps us support and protect Veterans.
Do not contact the VA about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are receiving care at your local VA health facility, they will contact you and let you know when you can make an appointment. Only those who are currently eligible for the vaccine based on the VA and CDC risk criteria can receive a vaccine. Some VA health care facilities are hosting, large vaccination events or requesting Veterans to call for an appointment. They options are for those in the risk categories mentioned above at this time.
How was the COVID-19 Vaccine Plan Created?
The VA based their phased COVID-19 plan on guidance from the CDC (from the VA website).
- Risk of becoming infected with the virus
- Risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19
- Risk of spreading the virus to others
- Risk of harm to society if essential workers, including health care personnel, are unable to work
There are many factors that can determine what your risk of server illness is. Death or severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. If you have certain health problems like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity it will increase your risk of severe illness of death. Lifestyle factors such as living in a group home also increases your risk.
Currently the 2 authorized COVID-19 vaccines require special handling and storage which limits its distribution to VA facilities with proper storage. There is a limited supply of vaccines but as soon as more vaccines are available VA care teams will let you know your options. Veterans have the choice if they want to get the vaccine or not. Your choice will not affect your VA health care or benefits. Once more vaccines are available the VA plants to offer a free a COVID-19 vaccine to all Veterans who receive VA health care that want one.
Resources for More Information
For answers to general questions about getting a vaccine call 800-698-2411 TTY:711