Who will get a COVID-19 vaccine first
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine. We’ll have a limited amount of this vaccine 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’ll first offer vaccines to these 2 groups:
- Veterans living in our long-term care facilities, and
- VA health care personnel. Vaccinating our high-risk 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 the first 2 groups, we’ll begin to offer vaccines to more Veterans who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Your VA health care team will contact you if you’re eligible to get a vaccine during this time.
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.
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 Veterans know their options.
Where we’ll offer vaccines
The first authorized COVID-19 vaccine requires special storage and handling. Because of this, we’ll start by offering vaccines through certain VA medical centers.
When more vaccines are available, we’ll determine if we can provide vaccines through our community provider network.
Eligibility and cost
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 while federal partners work to make a COVID-19 vaccine available.
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.
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 will not share names or street addresses.