Written By: US Department of Veteran Affairs
The VA is going to start notifying veterans who are at least 75 years of age or older, who are enrolled in VA healthcare, that they will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccines through the VA. Contact Your primary VA provider for details.
COVID-19 vaccines at VA
We’re working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans and VA health care personnel. We know you have a lot of questions, and information is changing quickly. Please check back often for updates. We’ll continue to update this page as we have new information to offer.
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Note: You don’t need to sign up to get a vaccine.Sign up to stay informed
On this page
- Who will get a COVID-19 vaccine first
- Basic information about getting your vaccine at VA
- Questions you may have about COVID-19 vaccines
- More helpful information and resources
Who will get a COVID-19 vaccine first
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first 2 COVID-19 vaccines. We’ll have a limited amount of these vaccines to start.
We’ve worked with the CDC and other federal partners to develop a phased plan. Our goal is to do the most good for the most people during this time.
Under this plan, we’re now offering vaccines to these 2 groups:
- Veterans living in our long-term care facilities, and
- VA health care personnel. Vaccinating our VA health care personnel helps us continue providing care for Veterans.
We based this plan on these criteria from CDC guidelines:
- Risk of becoming infected with the virus
- Risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19
- Risk of spreading the virus to others
- Risk of harm to society if essential workers, including health care personnel, are unable to work
After these first 2 groups, we’ll begin to offer vaccines to more Veterans who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
If you’re eligible to get a vaccine, your VA health care team will contact you. You don’t need to reserve a vaccine, or come to a VA facility to request or receive a vaccine until we contact you. Our staff will only provide vaccines to Veterans who are currently eligible for one based on VA and CDC risk criteria.
Who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
We’ll follow CDC guidelines for determining who is at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. Factors that may influence the risk of severe illness include the following:
- Age. The risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 increases with age.
- Existing health problems. People with certain health problems (like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity) have a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
- Other factors that raise a person’s risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, such as living in a nursing home or other group living facility.
If you have questions about how your personal risk for COVID-19 will determine when you can get a vaccine, send a secure message to your VA health care provider. If you don’t receive care at VA, contact your primary health care provider. To learn more about people at increased risk, go to the CDC website.
Basic information about getting your vaccine at VA
As the supply of vaccine increases, we’ll work with our care teams to let you know your options. It’s your choice if you want to get a vaccine or not. Your decision won’t affect your VA health care or any of your VA benefits in any way.
Where we’ll offer vaccines
The first 2 authorized COVID-19 vaccines require special storage and handling. Because of this, we have a limited supply of vaccines. Our VA facilities will provide vaccines to Veterans receiving VA health care who are most at risk.
When more vaccines are available, we’ll determine when we can provide vaccines through our community provider network.
When more vaccines become available, we plan to offer a free COVID-19 vaccine to all Veterans receiving VA health care who want one.
Your team will contact you when a vaccine is available to you. If you decide to get the vaccine, your team will help you schedule your appointments.
If you’re not currently receiving health care through VA, you can apply now.
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority as federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available.
Before the FDA authorizes a vaccine for use, they carefully review the available safety data and clinical trial results for that vaccine. To learn more about the safety of the 2 authorized COVID-19 vaccines, read the FDA fact sheets:
We’ll closely monitor everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine for reactions, side effects, or adverse events. An adverse event is an injury or harm that happens to someone after they receive a vaccine, which may or may not have been caused by the vaccine.
We’ll report this information in our vaccine monitoring and tracking system. This is the same system we use to monitor reactions to all vaccines, including those for the flu and shingles.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety, go to the CDC website.
We’ll share the same information with the CDC that we share for other vaccines. This includes the following information:
- Demographic information (like age, gender, race, and ethnicity) that helps the CDC understand which groups of people are receiving the vaccine
- Adverse reactions to the vaccine
We won’t share names or street addresses.
Questions you may have about COVID-19 vaccines
Vaccine research and FDA authorization
- Is there a cure or any FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19?
- Is there an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine?
- What is the FDA’s role in approving a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19?
- Is VA participating in COVID-19 research studies?
- Are authorized COVID-19 vaccines at VA different from vaccines received through research studies?
How COVID-19 vaccines work
- Why do I need a COVID-19 vaccine?
- How do vaccines for viruses like the coronavirus protect me from getting sick?
- How will getting a vaccine benefit my family and community?
- Can I get COVID-19 from either of the authorized vaccines?
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine
- Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine even if I’ve already had COVID-19?
- Can I choose which authorized COVID-19 vaccine I get?
- Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu or other vaccines at the same time?
- Can I change my mind after scheduling a time to get a vaccine?
- How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will I need to take? Will I need a booster dose?
- How do I know if it’s safe for me personally to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
After getting a COVID-19 vaccine
- Will I have side effects after I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- Can I still get COVID-19 after I get the vaccine?
- How long will a vaccine protect me from COVID-19?
- If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask in VA facilities?
For answers to more frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines, go to the CDC website.
More helpful information and resources
- Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans need to knowGet the latest updates on how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect your VA benefits and services.
- Find VA locationsVisit your local VA medical center website to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine preparation.
- VA’s COVID-19 public health responseRead more about our public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Volunteer for coronavirus research at VAAs one of the nation’s leaders in health research, we’re working to continue to find ways to prevent and treat COVID-19. Find out how you can be part of these efforts and what to expect if you volunteer.
- Apply for VA health care online (VA Form 10-10EZ)Start your application for VA health care now.