BEDFORD, Mass. — VA New England Healthcare System announced this week it is providing COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone who served in the military, their caregivers and spouses, and some other beneficiaries under the authority granted by the SAVE LIVES Act, signed by President Joe Biden on March 24.

The expanded authority depends on readily available COVID-19 vaccine supply and requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to continue to prioritize Veterans enrolled in VA care.

“Since the start of the pandemic, VISN 1 medical centers have been focused on vaccinating as many Veterans as possible, and we are excited to multiply our efforts thanks to the SAVE LIVES Act, “ said Ryan Lilly, director of VA New England Healthcare System. “We have the vaccine doses and the capacity to ensure those newly eligible will be able to be vaccinated soon.”

Those eligible under the SAVES LIVES Act to receive a vaccine can go tova.gov/covid-19-vaccine to register and stay informed on VA’s vaccine rollout process.

Local VA medical centers are contacting veterans as additional vaccine becomes available. The VA is vaccinating all individuals in the categories listed above regardless of age or any other factor.

To maintain continued health and safety during the pandemic, please do not visit a VA facility for a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment.

U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, co-sponsored the bill and applauded VA New England Healthcare System’s announcement Tuesday that they would begin expanding vaccinations — including in New Hampshire.

“VA has done incredible work to vaccinate more than 1 million veterans. But prior to this legislation, there were millions more veterans and caregivers who are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine because they are not eligible for or enrolled in VA health care services,” said Pappas. “I’m pleased that the VA New England Healthcare System announced today that all veterans, caregivers, and spouses are now eligible in accordance with the legislation I co-sponsored in the House.

“Those who have worn the uniform of our country should not have to fight yet another battle in order to get this vaccine, and I will continue to fight to ensure that all our veterans get the support they have earned and the help they need throughout this pandemic,” Pappas said.

The White River Junction Veterans Affairs Healthcare System also announced this week it is prepared to give vaccinations to people under the SAVES LIVES Act.

The White River Junction VA currently has regular clinics planned for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the White River Junction VA Medical Center at 163 Veterans Drive, White River Junction, Vt., using the Moderna vaccine. The VA has also scheduled a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic for April at Middlebury College Athletics Complex, 219 South Main St., Middlebury, Vt.; and a two-dose Moderna vaccine clinic planned for April 16 and May 14 at Westminster Armory, 23 Armory Lane, Westminster, Vt.

An appointment is required for any of these clinics; call (802) 296-5151 to schedule a vaccination.

The expanded authority depends on readily available COVID-19 vaccine supply and requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue to prioritize Veterans enrolled in VA care.

“Since Dec. 31, we have vaccinated thousands of veterans and are excited to multiply our efforts thanks to the SAVE LIVES Act,” said Becky Rhoads, acting director of the White River Junction VA Healthcare System.

“We will be offering COVID-19 vaccine to the larger eligible group at our White River Junction Medical Center and all other larger clinics being offered throughout our catchment area.”

Those eligible under the SAVES LIVES Act to receive a vaccine can call the (802) 296-5151 scheduling line to begin the registration and scheduling process.

Available, upcoming clinics are listed on the White River Junction VA’s website at whiteriver.va.gov/services/covid-19-vaccines.asp.

To maintain continued health and safety during the pandemic, people are asked to not visit a VA facility for a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment. Masks and physical distancing required at all locations.

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