Congress has passed a new bill that will allow all veterans and their caregivers to get the COVID-19 vaccination by the VA.
Both the House and the Senate passed the legislation unanimously, and it now heads to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The new act will also require the VA to vaccinate veterans even if they are not enrolled in VA health care.
However, veterans who are enrolled into VA health care would receive priority, the legislation stipulates.
Military.com has more details:
"Unanimous passage of our bipartisan bill means we're one step away from ensuring that every veteran, spouse, and caregiver in this country has access to a vaccine from VA," Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said in a statement.
"This legislation is a critical step in reaching our common goal of saving more lives and getting our economy back on track as quickly and safely as possible," added Tester, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
The Save Lives Act would greenlight the VA to vaccinate all veterans, veteran spouses, caregivers, and Civilian Health and Medical Program recipients.
The Senate’s version of the bill expanded upon the version passed by the House.
On top of veterans, their caregivers, and veterans living abroad, the Senate’s version also asked for the VA to vaccinate spouses of veterans.
As of last week, the VA had fully vaccinated 1.4 million people. The new law will allow more veterans to receive the vaccine as it states they no longer have to be eligible for VA care to get the vaccination.
The top Republican Senator on the VA committee, Sen. Jerry Moran, released the following statement:
"I urge the president to quickly sign this legislation into law to make certain the VA has the freedom to vaccinate veteran spouses, non-enrolled veterans, caregivers, overseas veterans and others with excess COVID-19 vaccine supply.”