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For information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services by clicking here, or the CDC website by clicking here.
Nov 23, 2020

Tester, Colleagues Press VA on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan for Veterans and Staff

Senators: “VA must have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure the safe, equitable, and smooth distribution of a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine”

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester is leading the effort to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking necessary steps to swiftly develop and release its own COVID-19 vaccine strategy to keep veterans and staff safe during the pandemic.

In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie today, Tester led his committee colleagues in urging the Department to lay out its plan to allocate a coronavirus vaccine, reach veterans in rural and hotspot areas, combat vaccine misinformation, and strengthen cross-government and community partnerships.

“For COVID-19 vaccine distribution to succeed there must be a well-organized plan to meet the needs of all veterans and their providers,” the Senators wrote. “…Given all 50 states already had to submit their COVID-19 vaccine plans to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mid-October and the CDC already released their COVID-19 Vaccine Program Interim Playbook on October 29, I am concerned VA is behind the curve. If the states and other Federal agencies have already publicly released their plans, why is VA lagging behind? When will VA’s COVID-19 vaccine plan be available and released to Congress and the public?”

Tester and his colleagues implored the VA to distribute the vaccine following guidance from public health experts and requested the Department’s strategy in allocating its initial doses among staff and vulnerable veterans to ensure those at highest risk receive the vaccine first.

The Senators continued, “Veterans and staff need to feel safe receiving any future COVID-19 vaccine, and this vaccine should be administered at no-cost to them. While the incoming Biden-Harris Administration is just a few months from taking office, the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing unprecedented sickness and death in our communities. Veterans and VA staff can’t afford to wait until January 20 for a COVID-19 vaccine plan. The Department needs to take action now to ensure the health and safety of veterans, staff, and their families during this pandemic.”

A copy of the Senators’ letter is available HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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