The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) began offering the COVID-19 vaccine to veterans late in 2020. While they initially focused on vulnerable veterans with certain disabilities, they have now expanded access so that any veteran getting their healthcare through VA clinics can get vaccinated. This will help to protect veterans who may not be in traditional risk groups, but nevertheless may be put in danger if they become infected by COVID-19.
How Has the VA Handled Vaccinations Before Now?
Initially, due to limited supplies, the COVID-19 vaccine was not immediately available to everyone. The VA clinics where the vaccine was available primarily limited access to the vaccine to front-line healthcare workers and those veterans who were most vulnerable to the disease. This includes veterans with compromised immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients, as well as the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions that could make a coronavirus infection particularly dangerous.
Fortunately, though, the rate of vaccines being manufactured and distributed has increased over the past few months. At the beginning of January, the VA had only vaccinated about 175,000 people. As of March 1, though, the VA had managed to vaccinate over one million veterans, representing a major milestone in the rate of vaccinations. This success has spurred the VA to make changes in who is eligible for the vaccine.
What Has Changed Now?
As time has gone on, more and more vaccines are being approved, manufactured, and distributed. This has allowed the VA to expand access to the vaccine among its patients, and increase the number of people who qualify for the vaccine. Now, instead of only offering the vaccine to certain vulnerable populations, many VA clinics are offering the vaccine to any VA patient, regardless of their age or medical history. This ensures that veterans will have access to the vaccine as soon as possible.
How Can I Get Vaccinated?
To receive a COVID-19 vaccine, you should contact your local VA clinic and see if they have appointments available for vaccinations. Not every clinic has completely caught up with demand, however, and they may not have appointments available right away. In addition, clinics are still prioritizing high-risk veterans, particularly the elderly and those with certain disabilities. However, with this recent expansion of access to the vaccine, the VA hopes to soon vaccinate every veteran and ensure they are protected from COVID-19.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.