President Biden signs Sen. Moran’s bill to expand vaccine access for veterans

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 3:53 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - President Joe Biden has signed into law Senator Moran’s bill to expand vaccine access for veterans and their families.

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says on Wednesday President Joe Biden signed into law a bipartisan bill led by him and Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Reps. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Mike Bost (R-Ill.). He said the law will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to veterans and their family members under the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Military service is family service, and that is why the VA and our House and Senate VA Committees aim to care for both veterans and their families,” said Sen. Moran. “I am grateful the President acted quickly to sign this legislation into law to make certain the VA has the freedom to vaccinate veteran spouses, non-enrolled veterans, caregivers, overseas veterans and others with excess COVID-19 vaccine supply. While the VA will continue to prioritize vaccinating VHA enrolled veterans with its allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine, this legislation will help further protect our veterans and their families.”

Sen. Moran said the Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse Act allows the VA to give COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans, spouses, caregivers and the Civilian Health and Medical Program fo the Department of Veterans Affairs recipients while doses are available.

“This new law expands options for where veterans and their families can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, ensuring that every veteran, spouse, and caregiver will have access to the protection they need from VA,” said Sen. Tester. “This bipartisan bill follows through on our shared goal of getting more shots into the arms of as many veterans as possible, and I thank Senators Moran, Boozman, Blumenthal, and our House colleagues for helping me in our push to put this pandemic behind us and move our country forward.”

According to Sen. Moran, Veterans Service Organizations applauded Biden’s signing of the SAVE LIVES Act and highlighted its impact on veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on all Americans including veterans and their families,” said Veterans of Foreign Wars National Legislative Director Pat Murray. “The end may be near, but we will not come out of this until everybody possible has vaccinations. Expanding VA’s authority to vaccinate all veterans, caregivers, and spouses will help get us to herd immunity and hopefully eliminate this deadly disease.”

Moran said the SAVE LIVES Act will expand the VA’s authority to provide vaccines to the following:

  • Veterans who are not eligible for enrollment in VA’s health care system, including veterans without compensable service-connected disabilities and veterans who have incomes above a certain threshold;
  • Caregivers of veterans who are enrolled in various VA home-based and long-term care programs;
  • Spouses of veterans; and
  • CHAMPVA recipients (spouses of permanently and totally disabled veterans or of veterans who have died from service-connected disabilities).

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