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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Friday evening authorizing the Department of Veterans Affairs to give covid-19 shots to all veterans, their spouses and caregivers.

The Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse -- or SAVE LIVES -- Act passed Wednesday in the Senate and the House on Friday.

It now will be forwarded to President Joe Biden for his signature.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, had championed the measure after hearing from Arkansans that restrictions were complicating vaccination efforts.

"A lot of veterans were refusing to take the shot until their spouse would be eligible," Boozman said after the legislation was filed earlier this month.

In most instances, the spouses already qualified to receive the vaccination from a non-VA professional, Boozman said.

During a committee hearing, acting undersecretary Dr. Richard Stone told Boozman that the department would need "additional legislative relief" before it could provide vaccinations for those who otherwise don't qualify for VA services.

"Maybe that's something the chairman and I can work on," the Arkansan replied.

Full story (subscription required): https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/mar/21/boozman-backed-bill-to-get-vets-vaccinated-passes/