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Veterans Affairs expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all veterans and their spouses
Progress-Index - 4/7/2021
RICHMOND - The Central Virginia Veterans Affairs Health Care System is expanding eligibility for veterans in the area to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone who served in the U.S. Military is now eligible for a vaccine, regardless of the character of their discharge. It also adds spouses, caregivers and non-enrolled veterans to the list of eligibility. Widows and widowers are also included in the expansion of service.
These changes are part of the SAVE LIVES Act which removed some limits on the level of care the VA is allowed to provide. The act itself increased the number of people eligible for vaccination from 9.5 million to 33 million nationally. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said that vaccinating this group would be a "tremendous undertaking" and require a significant increase of vaccine allocation to the VA.
CVHCS is currently vaccinating veterans of all ages at the Richmond and Emporia vaccine clinics. Other clinics in Charlottesville and Fredericksburg are for ages 40 and up.
"We have been vaccinating a lot of Veterans from both southern Virginia and northern North Carolina, and I’m very proud of the dedication our team has shown through the entire COVID-19 pandemic,” said Taylor Clements, pharmacist at the Emporia clinic. “We will continue to serve our Veterans and will serve their spouses and caregivers when supply allows. Because the areas we serve are so rural, we are relying on community partners to spread the word to all who are eligible and to encourage everyone to get the vaccine at the first opportunity.”
CVHCS is encouraging veterans and their families to take the first vaccination opportunity, whether it is through the VA or through county or state-run programs.
There is no current timeline for when CVHCS will begin scheduling non-veterans and scheduling is dependent on available supply.
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This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Veterans Affairs expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include all veterans and their spouses
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