Legislation would expand vaccine access for veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans’ and Caregivers’ COVID-19 Immunizations Now Expanded Act of 2021, or the VA VACCINE Act, has been introduced in Congress.

The measure was introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., who is the lead Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Bost said in a news release that the bipartisan bill is a critical fix to expand VA’s ability to provide COVID-19 vaccines to veterans and their caregivers. 

Under the legislation, VA can provide vaccines to all veterans, including those not currently enrolled in the VA healthcare system, and caregivers who provide essential support to veterans.

The VA VACCINE Act will expand VA’s authority so they can provide vaccines to:

•Veterans who are not currently enrolled in VA’s healthcare system, including veterans without compensable service-connected disabilities and veterans who have incomes above a certain threshold.

•Caregivers of veterans who are enrolled in various VA home-based and long-term care programs.

•Veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program (including those who reside in the Philippines).

The Gazette-Democrat

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