The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) is pleased to recognize the signing into law earlier today of the “Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse Act” (SAVE LIVES Act), H.R. 1276, by President Joe Biden.

The bipartisan legislation, which passed the House and Senate unanimously, significantly expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to veterans and their families under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It provides the VA Secretary with additional authority to provide no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers as dosages become available.

The legislation further requests that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services increase VA’s vaccine allocation when feasible to compensate for the increased demand from the new law.

“Spouses and caregivers are frequently an essential part of the care team of veterans with vision loss,” said James Vale, BVA National Service Director, Veterans Benefits and Policy. “BVA is pleased that the President and those who championed the bill in Congress recognized the need to protect the veteran demographic and, in our case, blinded veterans.”

Vale singled out House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA-41) and the bill’s co-sponsors and supporters in both the House and Senate for their efforts to move the bill, including Senate VA Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator John Boozman (R-AR), and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS).