Congress Passes the VA VACCINE Act

March 10, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) commended the unanimous House passage of H.R. 1276, the VA VACCINE Act.  Congressman Panetta is a cosponsor of the legislation, which expands the Department of Veterans Affairs’ ability to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to all veterans, including those not enrolled in the VA healthcare system, and their caregivers.

“Currently, millions of veterans and their caregivers cannot access the COVID-19 vaccine because they can’t enroll in the VA healthcare system due to their income or non-compensable service injuries,” said Congressman Panetta.  “I worked with Chairman Takano to introduce the VA VACCINE Act to give the VA the flexibility it needs to administer the vaccine to all veterans and those who care for them.  This is just part of our continued effort to ensure that veterans on the Central Coast and around the country have the access to vaccines that they deserve.”

The legislation will expand the VA’s authority to provide the COVID vaccine to:

  • Veterans not currently enrolled in the VA healthcare system, including those without compensable service-connected disabilities or have incomes above a certain threshold.
  • Caregivers of veterans who are enrolled in VA home-based and long-term care programs.
  • Veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program.

Last month, Congressman Panetta called on the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, and the CDC to expand COVID-19 vaccine dose allocations to VA clinics and facilities outside of major population centers.  Soon after, the VA provided COVID vaccines to the VA Gourley Outpatient Clinic in Marina, which continues to hold vaccine clinics for Central Coast veterans.