COVID-19 Vaccines - VA Northern California Health Care System
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VA Northern California Health Care System

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COVID-19 Vaccines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines. VA will have a limited amount of vaccines to start. We've worked with the CDC and other federal partners to develop a phased plan. Our goal is to do the most good for the most people during this time.

Currently, VA is offering COVID-19 vaccine to Veterans already receiving care from the VA, based on CDC and VA risk criteria. If you're eligible to get a vaccine, your VA health care team will contact you.

Veterans who are not enrolled or do not currently receive care at VA can visit VA's Eligibility web page to learn more: Eligibility For VA Health Care | Veterans Affairs

C19 Vaccine Picture

Updated Feb. 23, 2021

VA’s goal is to offer the vaccine to all eligible Veterans who choose to be vaccinated. Following CDC guidance, we are currently offering vaccines to some of our highest-risk patients, including Veterans:

  • (new) who are essential workers, regardless of age (may be asked to show proof of essential work status)
    • Essential workers include Veterans who are currently working in the following occupations and industries:
    • fire fighters
    • police officers
    • corrections officers
    • food and agriculture
    • U.S. Postal Service
    • Manufacturing
    • grocery stores
    • public transit
    • educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare)
    • transportation and logistics
    • food service
    • housing construction and finance
    • information technology
    • communications
    • energy
    • law
    • media
    • public safety
    • and public health.
  • (new) age 60 and older
  • on hemodialysis or chemotherapy
  • who are organ transplant recipients
  • with diagnosis of ALS
  • who are homeless
  • residing in our Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available at VANCHCS by appointment only. Veterans who receive their care at VA and fall in one of the groups listed above are being contacted and offered an appointment to receive a vaccine. If Veterans have not been contacted, they can send a My HealtheVet Secure Message to COVID VACCINE SCHEDULING – NCHCS or call 1-800-382-8387, select option 8, to request an appointment.

If you’re a Veteran who is not enrolled in VA health care, click here to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for VA health care. Once enrolled, you can request an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

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Eligible Veterans may contact us for an appointment via one of two methods:

Option One:

  COVID Vaccine Secure Message  

  • Login to your My HealtheVet account: myhealth.va.gov​. Note: you need a Premium account to access the Secure Messaging feature.​
  • On your home page, select the icon labeled “Messages.” ​
  • Select the Green icon labeled “Compose a Message.” ​
  • From here, filter the drop-down menu and select the team titled:​
    • COVID VACCINE SCHEDULING – NCHCS.
    • You can request an appointment day and time to receive your vaccination.
    • A scheduler will respond with your appointment confirmation and or other availability.

Option Two:

Contact our Call Center at 1-800-382-8387 and select option 8. Our call center is open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

When coming to your vaccine appointment, please do not arrive early and do not bring guests or caregivers with you unless medically necessary. We have limited space in our facilities. 

If you’re a Veteran who already receives care at VA and are not currently eligible to receive a vaccine, please do NOT call VANCHCS to inquire about vaccinations. Our operators and call centers are doing their best to schedule eligible Veterans and are being overwhelmed with calls about the vaccine. We request your patience and understanding as we work our way through the high-risk priority groups first.

In the meantime, please check for COVID-19 vaccination information updates on our website. You may also stay informed or express your interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed

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COVID-19 VACCINE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

How is the VANCHCS deciding which Veterans and staff to vaccine first?

We are offering the COVID-19 vaccines following a phased plan based on the following CDC guidelines:

  • Risk of becoming infected with the virus
  • Risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
    Factors that may influence the risk of severe illness include:

    • The risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 increases with age.
    • Existing health problems. People with certain health problems (like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity) have a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

  • Risk of spreading the virus to others
  • Risk of harm to society if essential workers, including health care personnel, are unable to work.

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Who is being offered the vaccine now?

VA’s goal is to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible Veterans who want one. VANCHCS is now offering COVID-19 vaccines to the following Veterans receiving care at VA:

  • Inpatients:
    • residing in our Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, or Community Living Center
    • being discharged to Community Nursing Homes or similar programs.
  • Outpatients:
    • (new) who are essential workers, regardless of age (may be asked to show proof of essential work status)
      • Essential workers include Veterans who are currently working in the following occupations and industries:
        • fire fighters
        • police officers
        • corrections officers
        • food and agriculture
        • U.S. Postal Service
        • manufacturing
        • grocery stores
        • public transit
        • educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare)
        • transportation and logistics
        • food service
        • housing construction and finance
        • information technology
        • communications
        • energy
        • law
        • media
        • public safety
        • public health
  • (new) age 60 and older
  • on hemodialysis or chemotherapy
  • who are organ transplant recipients
  • with diagnosis of ALS
  • who are homeless.

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Can I choose which authorized COVID-19 vaccine I get?

Depending on supply, VANCHCS is offering the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines across the health care system. At this time, Veterans are not able to choose which vaccine they receive. For the next several months, we won't have enough vaccines to allow you to choose which vaccine you’d like to receive. We will reassess as more vaccines become available.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require two doses to work. And you must get the same vaccine for both doses. You’ll need to get both doses at the same facility.

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How can I get the vaccine?

Currently, COVID-19 vaccinations are available by appointment only. We are contacting Veterans in the eligible groups mentioned above and offering appointments for COVID vaccinations.

Eligible Veterans may contact us for an appointment via one of two methods:

Option One

COVID Vaccine Secure Message:  

  • Login to your My HealtheVet account: myhealth.va.gov​. Note: you need a Premium account to access the Secure Messaging feature.​
  • On your home page, select the icon labeled “Messages.” ​
  • Select the Green icon labeled “Compose a Message.” ​
  • From here, filter the drop-down menu and select the team titled:​
    • COVID VACCINE SCHEDULING – NCHCS.
    • You can request an appointment day and time to receive your vaccination.
    • A scheduler will respond with your appointment confirmation and or other availability.

Option Two

Contact our Call Center at 1-800-382-8387 and select option 8. Our call center is open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

If you’re a Veteran who already receives care at VA and are not currently eligible to receive a vaccine, please do NOT call VANCHCS to inquire about vaccinations. Our operators and call centers are doing their best to schedule eligible Veterans and are being overwhelmed with calls about the vaccine. We request your patience and understanding as we work our way through the high-risk priority groups first. If you’re a Veteran who is not enrolled in VA health care, click here to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for VA health care. Once enrolled, you can request an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

To reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, Veterans should not come into our VA facilities looking to receive a vaccine without an appointment. No walk-ins will be accepted.

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When will I be contacted about getting the vaccine?

VA’s goal is to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all Veterans who want it. We request your patience and understanding as we work our way through the high-risk priority groups first. In the meantime, please visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed to express your interest in receiving a vaccine.

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I’m an enrolled Veteran who is not currently eligible for a vaccine. What should I do in the meantime to ensure I can get a vaccine as soon as possible?

Veterans who already receive care at VA can express interest in receiving a vaccine and sign up to get up-to-date information at https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed. VA will send you updates on how it is providing vaccines across the country—and when you can get your vaccine if you want one. VA will also offer information and answers to your questions along the way.

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I have a specific medical condition and don’t know if it’s a good idea for me to be vaccinated. Who should I ask?

If you have a question about your personal medical history, please communicate with your primary care provider. You can also learn quite a bit about the specifics of the COVID-19 vaccine at our Keep Me Informed tool.

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What can I do to fight COVID-19?

Keep up the 3W’s! It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Even after vaccination, Veterans and employees should continue to:

  • Wear a face covering
  • Watch your distance (stay 6 feet apart)
  • Wash hands frequently

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I am a Veteran who is not enrolled in VA health care, and am interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. How do I enroll for VA care and schedule an appointment for the vaccine?

First, apply for VA health care. Click here to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for VA health care. Once enrolled, you can request an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine by calling 1-800-382-8387 and selecting option 8. Our call center is open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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I’m a caregiver for a Veteran. Am I eligible for a vaccine, too?

Vaccinating caregivers helps us support and protect Veterans.

For a caregiver to be eligible for a vaccine, both of these must be true:

  • The caregiver must be enrolled in our Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC), and
  • The Veteran they care for must be currently eligible for a vaccine based on VA and CDC risk criteria.

If you’re an eligible caregiver, we’ll tell you if you can get a vaccine when we invite the Veteran to get one. You can sign up to receive email updates along with the Veteran.

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How can I stay informed about the vaccine?

Please check for COVID-19 vaccination information updates on our website. You may also stay informed and express your interest in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/stay-informed. You can also visit VA's vaccine information page.

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To get the latest updates and sign up to stay informed about COVID-19 vaccines, visit VA's vaccine information page.

Contact Info

Location

  • VA Northern California Health Care System

Contact Number(s)

  • 800-382-8387 Ext. 8

Hours of Operation

  • 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Monday - Friday