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The House of Representatives just unanimously passed a new measure to expand the reach of the Department of Veterans Affairs in distributing the coronavirus vaccine. The new VA VACCINE Act would allow some caregivers and all veterans, even those who don’t receive health care through the VA, to receive vaccines through the VA.

Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the legislation was in response to accounts that some elderly veterans were getting turned down for vaccines at the VA.

“Not all Americans understand that not all veterans receive their health care from the VA. You have to meet an income test or have some sort of service-connected disability or medical condition,” Takano explained.

Takano and his colleagues came up with the VA VACCINE Act, which would give the Secretary of the VA the authority, during a national emergency, to administer vaccines to veterans regardless of their eligibility for VA health care or enrollment in some other VA benefit.

At least 10 or 11 million veterans could benefit from this act, according to Takano. It would also help caregivers of veterans.

If the legislation does get signed into law, Takano said they will be able to get the message out to veterans through the veteran service organizations.

“I really hope the Senate will act quickly on passing this legislation,” said Takano.

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