Crist Champions Veterans Access to Flu Vaccine

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D- St. Petersburg) released this statement following House passage of H.R. 5671, legislation allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to administer flu vaccines to all veterans, their dependents, and veteran caregivers. Currently, only veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system are eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

Congressman Crist’s support for this legislation follows introduction of his Vaccines for Veterans Act, legislation that would make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all veterans, not just those currently enrolled in VA healthcare. This legislation was later included in the SAVES LIVES Act, which became law in March 2021.

“Many veterans - brave heroes who served their country honorably - do not have access to VA healthcare because they do not have a recognized, service-connected disability. Unfortunately, this also precludes them from going to Bay Pines or their local outpatient clinic to get the flu vaccine. That is wrong,” said Rep. Crist. “As we have seen from COVID-19, many veterans can have comorbidities and disabilities not tied to their service. While flu patients may not be at as high of risk of developing complications, make no mistake that the flu can still be deadly and dangerous. Getting the flu vaccine helps keep people safe, and helps keep their loved ones safe. After serving our country, giving veterans access to the flu vaccine is the least we can do.”

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