Chairman Takano, Ranking Member Bost Introduce VA VACCINE Act to Immediately Expand Vaccine Access for Veterans and Caregivers
Jenni Geurink (Takano) I 202-819-4684
Samantha Gonzalez (Bost) I 202-225-3527
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.) introduced the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans’ and Caregivers’ COVID-19 Immunizations Now Expanded Act of 2021or the VA VACCINE Act. This bipartisan bill is a critical fix to expand VA’s ability to provide COVID-19 vaccines to veterans and their caregivers. Under this 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. See full bill text here.
“If we want to defeat this pandemic, we must vaccinate as many Americans as possible—and do it quickly. VA is already well on its way to fully vaccinate more than one million veterans, but under its current authorities, millions more are still unable to receive lifesaving vaccines from VA,” said Chairman Takano. “VA should not have to turn away any veteran who walks through its doors to get a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they’re enrolled in or eligible for other VA healthcare services. Under the VA VACCINE Act, VA won’t have to. Our bill provides a critical fix to allow VA to expand who is eligible to receive a vaccine at its facilities—opening up access to all veterans and their caregivers. This bill is crucial to help VA fulfill its ambitious goal of vaccinating as many people as possible, and as vaccine supply increases, this will set VA up to succeed and continue serving our nation’s veterans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Getting vaccines into the arms of every person who wants one as soon as we can is key to finally getting us past this pandemic. In my mind, veterans should always be at the front of the line,” said Ranking Member Bost.“That is why I have been working to expand access to vaccines for veterans through the VA healthcare system and am proud to introduce the VA VACCINE Act with Chairman Takano today. Simply put, our bill would mean more veterans and their caregivers can get vaccinated. It will save lives. I hope it is signed into law without delay.”
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; and
- Veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program (including those who reside in the Philippines).
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