COVID-19 vaccines at VA | Veterans Affairs

Who will be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. We have a limited amount of this vaccine to get you started.

We’ve worked with the CDC and other federal partners to develop a phased plan. Our goal is to do the most good for most people during this time.

Under this plan we will first offer vaccines to these 2 groups:

  • Veterans living in our long-term care facilities, and
  • VA healthcare personnel. Vaccinating our high-risk VA healthcare personnel helps us continue to provide veteran care.

We based this plan on these criteria from the CDC guidelines:

  • Risk of getting infected with the virus
  • Risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19
  • Risk of the virus spreading to others
  • Risk of harm to society if essential employees, including healthcare personnel, are unable to work

After the first 2 groups, we will be offering vaccines to more veterans who are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19. Your VA healthcare team will contact you if you are eligible for a vaccine during this time.

Who is at increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19

We follow CDC guidelines to determine who is at high risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19. Factors that can affect the risk of serious illness include:

  • Age. The risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 increases with age.
  • Existing health problems. People with certain health conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity) have a higher risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
  • Other factors that increase a person’s risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, such as living in a nursing home or other group living facility.

To learn more about people at risk, visit the CDC website.

Basic information about getting your vaccine from VA

As the range of vaccines grows, we work with our healthcare teams to let veterans know their options.

Where we will be offering vaccines

The first approved COVID-19 vaccine requires special storage and handling. That’s why we’re starting to offer vaccines through certain VA medical centers.

If more vaccines are available, we will determine whether we can deliver 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 who receive VA health care and want one.

Your team will contact you if a vaccine is available to you. If you decide to get the vaccine, your team will help you plan your appointments.

If you are not currently receiving healthcare through VA, you can apply now.


The US vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority as federal partners work to make a COVID-19 vaccine available.

We will closely monitor anyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine for any reactions, side effects or adverse events. A side effect is an injury or harm that happens to someone after receiving a vaccine, whether or not caused by the vaccine.

We report this information in our vaccine surveillance and tracking system. This is the same system we use to track responses to all vaccines, including those for flu and shingles.


We will share the same information with the CDC that we share for other vaccines. This includes the following information:

  • Demographic information (such as age, gender, race, and ethnicity) that helps the CDC understand which groups of people are getting the vaccine
  • Side effects to the vaccine

We will not share names or addresses.