Sinema: Improve Coordination of COVID-19 Vaccine Access for Arizona Veterans

Feb 24, 2021

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema discussed the urgent need to clarify and expand access of COVID-19 vaccinations for Arizona veterans and their caregivers during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.
“We’ve heard from a number of Arizona veterans with questions and concerns about the availability of the vaccine and scheduling appointments across the Arizona VA Medical Centers. I appreciate the responsiveness of the Arizona VA Medical Centers as my team works at the local level to address these concerns,” said Sinema.
During the hearing, Sinema focused her questioning of VA leaders on potential reasons for delays or miscommunication, such as cancellation of appointments and unclear guidance whether veterans in inactive status can receive a vaccine. Sinema inquired what specific actions VA is taking to track cancelled vaccination appointments to ensure veterans are not losing access and fixing potential problems as they arise.
Additionally, Sinema highlighted challenges she and her team are learning because VA Medical Centers have different policies for how VA offers vaccines, especially to caregivers whom are critically important to also receive a vaccine while taking care of veterans. Sinema inquired how can VA better standardize policy to minimize confusion and ensure local VA Medical Centers have resources they need to provide coronavirus vaccines to caregivers when the veteran they care for receives one. 
Sinema used the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System’s Pilot Mobile Vet Center as an example of bringing vaccines to community clinics in an effort to expand distribution to more rural areas—an important step in vaccinating Arizona veterans.