The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone, including the Veterans. Due to this, the US Department of Veteran Affairs is continually working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal partners, and healthcare personnel to reach out and avail the vaccine to all veterans. Two pharmaceutical enterprises have won the Food and Drug Administration’s consent to offer COVID-19 Vaccines. Administration of the vaccines will be in phases due to their high demand.
According to the Veteran Affairs, the first phase of the vaccination is available to all Veteran Affairs health personnel as they are essential services providers. The vaccine is also available to veterans who reside within the designated long-term care institutions. According to the CDC and VA risk criteria assessment, the third group that qualifies for VA vaccination are members at high risk of contracting COVID-19, veterans above 75 years. If circumstances allow, designated family caregivers under the Comprehensive Assistance Program for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) will be eligible for the vaccine to qualify their veteran patients for the vaccine. Apart from the limited dose available, the strict handling and storage of the vaccine have made the Veteran Affair make tough decisions on who to get the vaccine first and who to get it last. The availability of vaccines and local needs will determine the decision made on those to receive the vaccine. The individuals’ chances of getting the virus, the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others, the existence of chronic illness, and harm to society if infected and unable to work are the data used in deriving the COVID-19 vaccination plan.
The Veteran Affairs has requested members to wait in their homes unless they get a call for the vaccination. Upon eligibility, veterans will receive the vaccination in their respective local Veteran Healthcare Facilities. Since some members are likely to visit their local facilities requesting a dose or reservation, the department asks veterans not to visit the facilities but wait for their appointment.
However, if veterans get contacted to visit their facilities to schedule the vaccination, they should avail themselves. The eventuality may arise since some Veteran Affair Healthcare Facilities serve many veterans, hence a bigger vaccination event. For more information on COVID-19 vaccination, veterans may visit their respective facilities’ website or send a secure message.