In the News

ADG: Vaccine rules' easing for VA is focus of bill

Boozman pushing to make spouses, caregivers eligible

Mar 15 2021

WASHINGTON -- Many elderly veterans are reluctant to get covid-19 vaccinations from the Department of Veterans Affairs unless their spouses can also get the shots, lawmakers say. But under existing federal law, non-veterans are ineligible.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is co-sponsoring legislation to revise the statute, enabling medical professionals to provide no-cost inoculations not only to veterans, but to their spouses and caregivers as well.

The bill, introduced last week by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., already has broad bipartisan support.

It's important, Boozman said, for the barrier to be removed.

"A lot of veterans were refusing to take the shot until their spouse would be eligible," he said in an interview.

The lawmaker from Rogers serves on the veterans affairs committee and had raised the issue with the department after constituents voiced concerns.

"In a hearing we had a few weeks ago, I asked the acting [undersecretary] about it. He agreed it was a problem, something we needed to fix, but we needed congressional authority to do that," Boozman recalled.

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