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Senate Dems Push VA to Release Vaccine Distribution Plan

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By    |   Tuesday, 24 November 2020 02:17 PM

A group of Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Democrats is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to release its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, The Hill reports.

The lawmakers wrote a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Monday asking for the vaccine plan and the VA's plan for dealing with virus outbreaks among patients.

The department “must be ready to act to protect the health of veterans, VA staff, and their families. VA must have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure the safe, equitable, and smooth distribution of a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine,” the letter states.

The senators ask Wilkie to share whether the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated how many initial vaccine doses it will allocate for the VA, as well as how the VA will then distribute its initial doses among staff and veterans.

“For COVID-19 vaccine distribution to succeed there must be a well-organized plan to meet the needs of all veterans and their providers,” wrote the group, led by committee ranking member Sen. Jon Tester. 

They also want to make sure that all VA patients and staff receive a vaccine “at no-cost to them.”

Once a coronavirus vaccine is available, it will likely be administered to front-line health workers and vulnerable populations first.

VA press secretary Christina Noel told The Hill that the department “is working diligently, both internally and externally with its [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] partners, to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure availability of COVID-19 vaccine across the VA system as soon as the product becomes available.”

Noel added that under the phased plan, immunizations for veterans and staff  “will be based on CDC guidelines,” which include “risk of acquiring infection, risk of severe illness and death, risk of transmitting disease [and] risk of harm to society.”

The VA on Tuesday reported nearly 13,000 active coronavirus cases and 4,685 deaths among its patients, The Hill reports. The department has passed 100,000 confirmed cases.

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A group of Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Democrats is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to release its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, The Hill reports. The lawmakers wrote a letter...
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Tuesday, 24 November 2020 02:17 PM
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