COVID-19 Vaccinations - Washington DC VA Medical Center
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Washington DC VA Medical Center

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COVID-19 Vaccinations

Photo of COVID-19 Vaccine

Congress has passed the SAVE LIVES Act, allowing VA to offer COVID-19 vaccine appointments to more Veterans as well as their spouse and caregiver. The expanded authority under the SAVE LIVES Act depends on readily available COVID-19 vaccine supply and requires VA to continue to prioritize appointments for Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care.

The following groups are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the DC VA Medical Center:

  • Veterans
  • Spouse of a Veteran
  • Caregiver of a Veteran
  • Recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits

Please note, due to special handling requirements, vaccine appointments are required unless the medical center is hosting a scheduled walk-in clinic.

Eligible Spouse

For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, VA defines a spouse to include marriage, same-sex and common-law marriages. This includes a widow or widower of a Veteran. If you characterize your relationship as spousal, you can receive the vaccine.

Eligible Caregivers

For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, VA defines a caregiver as a family member or friend who provides care to the Veteran. Caregivers may help the Veteran with personal needs like feeding, bathing, or dressing. They may also help the Veteran with tasks like shopping or transportation. 

The best way to stay informed is to sign up to tell us you’d like a COVID-19 vaccine through VA (www.va.gov/covid-19-vaccine)

The Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support Program (CSP) recognizes the critical role that family caregivers play in ensuring Veterans are healthy and remain in a safe and comfortable environment. Because of the critical role, designated Primary or Secondary Family Caregivers in the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), have been approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and testing through the VA facility where the Veteran receives their care.

When and how do I get a vaccine?
Caregivers who are interested in receiving the vaccine will be scheduled when their Veteran becomes eligible to receive the vaccine in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
To schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointments, call the medical center’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Line: 202-745-4342.

Once you receive your appointments, plan to arrive at the medical center’s Veteran COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic no more 15 minutes prior to your appointment. For your safety and the safety of staff, it is mandatory for everyone entering the medical center to wear a mask, practice physical distancing and wash or sanitize your hands often.

If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, we also encourage you, and the Veteran you care for, to sign up for updates: www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine.

Why should you consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
A vaccine will help protect you, your Veteran, and our staff by lowering the risk of getting an infection. Vaccines may also slow the spread of the virus thus protecting our families, friends, and neighbors.

What else do I need to know?
After you receive the vaccine, it will still be important to continue wearing a mask in public, washing your hands and staying at least six feet away from others who don’t live with you until the virus is under control

COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Line:
Phone: 202-745-4342
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Not yet enrolled for VA health care?
To learn more about enrollment, visit
https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction

Safety is a priority, please observe the following protocols when coming to your vaccine appointment:

  • Plan to come to your vaccine appointment alone unless you need the assistance of a caregiver. This will help us adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
  • Arrive at the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic no more than 15 minutes prior to your appointment time.
  • You will be required to stay for a 15-minute observation period following your vaccination.
  • After your first dose, you will be given a CDC Vaccine Card, bring this card to your next appointment.
  • Be prepared to show your VA ID card.
  • Wear a mask, practice physical distancing and sanitize your hands often.

Please do not come to the vaccine clinic without an appointment hoping for a walk-in appointment. Due to special handling requirements of the vaccine and to prevent waste.

If you have ever had:

  • An allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Please speak to your primary care provider if you have any questions about whether you should or should not be vaccinated.
  • Plan to come to your vaccine appointment alone unless you need the assistance of a caregiver. Children are not allowed in the clinic.
  • Arrive at the Vaccine Clinic no more than 15 minutes prior to your appointment time; plan to stay for a 15-minute observation period afterward.
  • After your first dose, you will be given a CDC Vaccine Card, bring this card to your next appointment.
  • Be prepared to show your VA ID card.
  • Wear a mask, practice physical distancing and sanitize your hands often.
  • COVID-19 testing may be required before certain medical procedures regardless of your vaccination status.

You may experience a reaction with symptoms such as:

  • Swelling at the injection site;
  • Tiredness;
  • Headache;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Chills;
  • Joint pain, and
  • Fever.

Contact your VA health care provider if the redness or tenderness increases after 24 hours or if your side effects do not go way after a few days. After vaccination, you should continue to wear your mask in public, practice physical distancing and wash your hands often.

Your safety and the safety of DC VAMC staff are our priority. According to the CDC, there are many reasons to get vaccinated:

  • All COVID-19 vaccines are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and are authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19. All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
  • Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 can have serious life-threatening complications and there is no way to know how it will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
  • Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic.

The White House has issued an Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing.

Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing | The White House

  • Face-to-face appointments have been reduced.
  • Plan to come alone unless you need a caregiver and arrive no more than 15 minutes prior to appointment time.
  • Visiting hours have been suspended, exceptions may be made for hospice patients, speak with the nurse manager for details.
  • All who enter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Masks are required and physical distancing will be practiced.
  • Teleheath and telephone appointments are readily available, please contact your provider via secure messaging or the Nurse Advise Line, 202-745-8000, option 3.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, call 202-745-8000, option 3, before coming to the medical center.

Visit COVID-19 Vaccinations in the US to see the progress being made in vaccinating the United States against the COVID-19 virus.

Additional Resources:

Fact Sheet – Pfizer Vaccine

Fact Sheet - Janssen

Fact Sheet – Moderna Vaccine

Debunking Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Sign up to stay informed about COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines at VA

What Veterans need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Mobile COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

The Mobile Veterans COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic is coming soon.

To ensure the safety of Veterans and frontline employees as well as to prepare for expanded vaccine appointments, the medical center is utilizing a mobile tent for the external COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic which is located in the general parking lot, adjacent to the Emergency Department. The new mobile clinic space will allow staff to reduce the traffic within the medical center and maintain CDC and VA safety guidance. Due to the number of vaccinations scheduled, the internal clinic space and the mobile clinic are being utilized simultaneously to vaccinate enrolled Veterans, frontline federal health care workers, and Fourth Mission Support.

Please Note: There are no walk-in vaccination sessions. All doses are administered by appointment only.