Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Update on the new VA vaccine law
- Congress has passed a new law that allows us to offer COVID-19 vaccines to more Veterans and some spouses and caregivers of Veterans. At this time, we still have a limited amount of vaccines. We’re working to determine how quickly we can begin to offer vaccines to these other groups.
- Please check back often for updates. We appreciate your patience as we prepare to offer more vaccines. If you’d like to get regular updates about COVID-19 vaccines at VA, Sign Up to Stay Informed.
- Note: Your employer, pharmacy, or local public health officials may offer you a COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage you to take the first opportunity you have to get a vaccine at the most convenient location for you.
See here for the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus information.
What is VA doing?
VA has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for Veterans, their families, health care providers, and staff in the face of this emerging health risk. We are working directly with the CDC and other federal partners to monitor the outbreak of the virus.
On November 9, 2020 VA shared its COVID-19 Response Report detailing its response to the COVID-19 pandemic from early January 2020 through June 30, 2020.This new report is a continuation of VA’s pledge to share best practices and lessons learned with other government agencies and the private health care system as the nation fights COVID-19.
On March 27, 2020 VA shared its COVID-19 response plan. We updated the plan in August and added five additional appendices. This best-practice guide is a valuable tool, which may be useful nationwide for the medical community.
VA is taking aggressive steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
These measures include outreach to Veterans and staff, clinical screening at VA health care facilities, and protective procedures for patients admitted to community living centers and spinal cord injury units.
COVID-19 Vaccines:VA is working in close collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners to provide COVID-19 vaccinations initially to front-line VA health care workers and Veterans residing in long-term care units in VA medical centers across the country. As vaccine supplies increase, VA's ultimate goal is to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all eligible Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.
- News Release (12/15/20)
- News Release (12/21/20)
- VA Vaccine Distribution Plan
- Current list by State
- COVID-19 vaccines at VA
Part of the department’s “Fourth Mission” is to support non-VA health care systems in the event those systems encounter capacity issues. VA is currently supporting non-VA health care systems’ COVID-19 response efforts in the following ways:
- VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange campus, to assist COVID-19 response
- VA to assist New York City with COVID-19 response
- VA announces ‘Fourth Mission,’ actions to help America respond to COVID-19
- VA COVID-19 Support of States
State Home COVID-19 Data
In accordance with Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, Public Law 116-315, State Homes will report COVID-19 related information to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weekly. State Homes (SHs) are owned and operated by individual States and all data are self-reported. VA is required to post publicly the total numbers of SH COVID-19 cases and deaths among residents and staff. 143 of 158 SHs are now providing weekly data to the CDC as a requirement for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) accredited programs. VHA is working with SHs to begin reporting to the CDC if they have not been previously. This data set will change as additional SHs begin reporting. This report reflects the CDC data totals for the reporting facilities from May 2020 through March 28, 2021. This posting was updated April 8, 2021 and further updates will be posted weekly.
Additional COVID-19 nursing home information can be found on the CMS website at: https://data.cms.gov/stories/s/COVID-19-Nursing-Home-Data/bkwz-xpvg/
*Residents are defined as Veterans living in the State Veteran Home for either short- or long-stay services.
What should Veterans do?
Veterans with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to contact VA before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility. Alternatively, Veterans can sign into My HealtheVet to send secure messages to their VA providers or use telehealth options to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.
Read responses to Veterans' frequently asked questions about accessing their VA benefits.
Upon arriving at VA, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff. A VA health care professional will assist you with next steps once this screening process is complete.
At this time, VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to please postpone their visits to VA facilities.
How to protect yourself
On March 10, 2021 VA updated CHARTING THE COURSE: Maintaining Continuous Services to Veterans while Supporting a COVID-19 Safe Workplace. The document emphasizes mask requirements as a Federal mandate and incorporates additional guidance for contact tracing, testing, symptom screening, quarantine and occupancy rates.
CDC believes symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. Avoid exposure and avoid exposing others to an infection with these simple steps.
- Learn to use VA Video Connect through the VA mobile app store or by contacting your VA care team, before any urgent problems arise.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Getting a flu shot is recommended.
VA COVID-19 Cases
Real-time, map-based data on COVID-19 case counts is available on VA’s Access to Care Website.
For more information
In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget’s Memorandum M-20-21, all financial information that agencies are required to report concerning their disposition of CARES Act and other supplemental COVID-19 appropriated funds is publicly available on USAspending.gov*, specific information regarding COVID-19 spending can be found on the COVID-19 Spending profile page http://usaspending.gov/covid-19*.
More can be learned through the following CDC sites, about:
* Links with an asterisk (*) next to them will take you outside the VA website. VA is not responsible for the content of the linked site.