The VA has begun full implementation of the SAVE LIVES Act, a law requiring the department to expand its COVID-19 vaccination footprint to include all veterans, not just those eligible for VA care or benefits, as well as spouses, caregivers, and Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) recipients.
Veterans enrolled in the VA’s patient system and their caregivers will retain priority under the new system, according to the law, while others will receive vaccines as they become available. The VA had targeted May 1 as a nationwide start date for the program, though some VA facilities already have expanded vaccine eligibility.
The registration process has not changed: Anyone interested in receiving a vaccine from the VA can sign up online at this link and will be notified by the VA when an appointment becomes available. Veterans or others who cannot register online or have difficulty completing the process can call the MyVA411 information line at 1-800-698-2411 for assistance.
[LATEST NEWS AND GUIDANCE: MOAA.org/Coronavirus]
The VA had fully vaccinated more than 2,021,000 veterans, caregivers, VA employees, and other federal partners as of April 5, according to information provided April 6 by the agency to veterans service organizations as part of the announcement of the SAVE LIVES Act implementation. The new legislation makes more than 24 million people eligible to receive their vaccinations through the VA.
VA Assisting National Archives
The eligibility expansion comes less than a week after the VA announced a partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) allowing the department to assist in providing vaccines to NARA workers supporting VA claims processing.
NARA staff have been operating at a reduced capacity throughout much of the pandemic, with a focus on emergency requests. More than 25,000 requests for personnel records from NARA’s St. Louis hub were pending as of April 1, according to a VA news release.
Individuals seeking records connected to medical treatments, burials, and access to homeless shelters can begin the process at this link. Other requests, such as administrative corrections or obtaining replacement medals, remain on hold.