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  COVID-19 Vaccines at VA  
  ~ www.va.gov  
 

VA answers questions about the Covid-19 vaccine

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA at this time?

Covid-19 vaccine vialThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first 2 COVID-19 vaccines. We currently have a limited amount of these vaccines. We've worked with the CDC and other federal partners to develop a phased plan. Our goal is to do the most good for the most people during this time.

Under this plan, these groups are now being vaccinated 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.

Some designated family caregivers may qualify for 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.
  • Please wait for us to contact you about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. When you can get a vaccine at your local VA health facility, we'll contact you. You don't need to call us to reserve a vaccine or come to a VA facility to request or receive a vaccine until we contact you. Our staff will only provide vaccines to Veterans and designated caregivers who are currently eligible for one based on VA and CDC risk criteria.
  • Be aware that some VA health care facilities are hosting large vaccination events or asking Veterans to call the facility directly to schedule a vaccination. If you receive communications from your local VA health care facility about getting vaccinated at a large-scale event or contacting the facility to make an appointment, we encourage you to do so if you are in one of the risk groups currently being vaccinated at VA.
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If you have questions, here's how to get the information you need:

  • For ongoing updates on our COVID-19 vaccine plan, sign up for email updates.
  • For more details on your local VA health facility's current plan, find your facility's website. On the facility website menu, go to Health care services, then COVID-19.
  • For answers to general questions about getting a vaccine at VA, read our FAQs. If you don't find your answer there, call our MyVA411 main information line at 800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).
  • For more information about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. If you don't receive care at VA, contact your primary health care provider.

How we created our phased COVID-19 vaccine plan:

We based our phased COVID-19 vaccine plan on these criteria from CDC guidelines:

  • 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.

We are following CDC guidelines for determining who is at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Factors that may influence the risk of severe illness include the following:

  • Age. The risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 increases with age.
  • Existing health problems. People with certain health problems (like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity) have a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
  • Other factors that raise a person's risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, such as living in a nursing home or other group living facility.

To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website.

Basic information about getting your vaccine at VA

As the supply of vaccine increases, we'll work with our care teams to let you know your options. It's your choice if you want to get a vaccine or not. Your decision won't affect your VA health care or any of your VA benefits in any way.

Where we'll offer vaccines

VA Medical Center

The first 2 authorized COVID-19 vaccines require special storage and handling. Because of this, we have a limited supply of vaccines. Our VA facilities will provide vaccines to Veterans receiving VA health care who are most at risk.

When more vaccines are available, we'll determine when we can provide vaccines through our community provider network.

Eligibility

When more vaccines become available, we plan to offer a free COVID-19 vaccine to all Veterans receiving VA health care who want one.

Your team will contact you when a vaccine is available to you. If you decide to get the vaccine, your team will help you schedule your appointments.

If you're not currently receiving health care through VA, find out if you're eligible and how to apply now.

Safety

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority as federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available.

Before the FDA authorizes a vaccine for use, they carefully review the available safety data and clinical trial results for that vaccine. To learn more about the safety of the 2 authorized COVID-19 vaccines, read the FDA fact sheets:

We'll closely monitor everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine for reactions, side effects, or adverse events. An adverse event is an injury or harm that happens to someone after they receive a vaccine, which may or may not have been caused by the vaccine.

We'll report this information in our vaccine monitoring and tracking system. This is the same system we use to monitor reactions to all vaccines, including those for the flu and shingles.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety, go to the CDC website.

Privacy

We'll share the same information with the CDC that we share for other vaccines. This includes the following information:

  • Demographic information (like age, gender, race, and ethnicity) that helps the CDC understand which groups of people are receiving the vaccine
  • Adverse reactions to the vaccine

We won't share names or street addresses.

 

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