New law enables all veterans, spouses and caregivers to get vaccinated at VA

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A big change is making the COVID-19 vaccine easier for veterans and their families to receive.

All veterans, their spouses and caregivers are getting COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday at the VA Honor Annex on the far east side.

Veterans no longer have to be enrolled in veterans services to receive a COVID immunization from the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

That’s because last week, President Biden signed the Save Lives Act into law.

It expands the powers of the VA so that the agency can inoculate all veterans, regardless of whether or not they’re enrolled in VA health care.

“We’ve been vaccinating veterans who are enrolled and eligible for health care and every time we had one come in we always had their wife or husband with them saying, ‘Can I get my vaccine too?'” Angela Athmann, assistant director of Kansas City’s VA Medical Center, said. “Up until last week we were not able to do so.”

The VA has gone from being able to vaccinate 9.5 million people, to more than 33 million.

Starting Tuesday, veterans, their spouses and caregivers walked into the Honor Annex to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

There will be a similar clinic Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at 4251 Northern Avenue.

Veterans, spouses and caregivers also can call 816-922-2619 to schedule an appointment.

The VA expects to administer 2,400 immunizations this week alone.

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