Spouses, caregivers now eligible for vaccine at VA

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:05 PM EDT
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WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - VA medical centers around the country are expanding who is eligible for COVID vaccinations.

It is no longer just the veterans who receive care at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction who can get the shots there.

“The military has always done a pretty good job taking care of spouses but the VA is almost strictly for veterans,” said Julie Parker of Claremont, New Hampshire.

That’s why Parker was pleasantly surprised Tuesday when she got her first dose in White River Junction.

“So finding out that I could get it done today, get done and out of the way is pretty amazing,” she said.

Her husband, Will, a veteran of the Marines, receives care there regularly.

“I generally don’t leave the house without her with me, so bringing her up here was just a nice surprise. Hey, you can get your shot too,” Will Parker said.

Under new federal guidelines, any veteran, spouse or caregiver of a former soldier can now get a COVID-19 vaccination through the VA.

“You had to be eligible to receive your medical care through the VA in order for us to provide the vaccinations, so this is a huge increase in the people who are eligible to get it through the VA,” said Becky Rhoads, the White River Junction VA Medical Center’s chief operating officer.

Wally Murray was getting his second shot at the medical center Tuesday.

“At a time when everyone is vulnerable, I think it is appropriate for this particular arm of the government to pitch in,” Murray said.

To date, this medical center has administered 14,000 vaccinations and more shots are on the way.

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