VA preps to begin administering new COVID booster

A pharmacist prepares to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Sept. 9, 2022. Photo credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs anticipates getting the new COVID-19 booster shot by the end of the week.

During his monthly call with reporters on Monday, Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal said the updated shot has tested “pretty effectively” against most of the current COVID strains.

“We're confident and hopeful this will add an extra layer of protection, especially to our most vulnerable veterans,” he said.

Both the COVID booster and flu vaccine will be available at VA medical centers nationwide, Elnahal said.

However, VA is not providing the booster  to family members or caregivers of veterans like it has in the past. Elnahal said that is due to the end of the COVID public health emergency in May. The VA can now only provide the jab to those eligible for care and its employees.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine, by Moderna or Pfizer-BioTech, earlier this month.

"We strongly recommend that veterans get the vaccine. It's a vaccine that has proven over and over again to be safe and effective. It protects against severe outcomes and death very significantly," Elnahal said.

According to VA’s COVID dashboard, it is currently treating 5,460 active cases of the disease. The department also reports vaccinating more than 5 million individuals since the jabs first became available in August of 2021.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images