President Biden Signs Kelly-Backed Bill to Give All Arizona Veterans and Spouses Access to Vaccine Through VA
Today bipartisan legislation backed by Arizona Senator Mark Kelly to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all veterans and their spouses through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was signed into law by President Biden. The Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse (SAVE LIVES) Act allows the VA to provide vaccination services to all veterans, veteran spouses, caregivers, and Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) recipients. The SAVE LIVES Act will significantly benefit Arizona where one in every 10 adults is a veteran.
“Arizona veterans and those who support them will now be able to get vaccinated through the VA. This bipartisan step will help not just veterans, but their families and caregivers whose sacrifices and service do not go unnoticed. Getting this vaccine into more Arizonans’ arms is one of the strongest tools we have to defeat the virus, and this brings us another step closer,” said Senator Kelly.
The SAVE LIVES Act also urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to adjust VA’s vaccine allocation based on this increased eligibility pool, as much as the supply chain allows. It now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The SAVE LIVES Act Kelly cosponsored expands the VA’s authority to provide vaccines to:
- 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).