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Bay Pines VA opens vaccinations to all veterans and their family members

A newly signed law allows for veterans not enrolled in VA medical care to get coronavirus vaccines at VA sites.
An exterior look at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 10000 Bay Pines Blvd, Bay Pines, FL, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.
An exterior look at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 10000 Bay Pines Blvd, Bay Pines, FL, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 7
Updated Apr. 7

The Bay Pines VA healthcare system is offering coronavirus vaccines to all veterans and their families, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in Veterans Affairs medical care, thanks to a bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.

The Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize All Veterans and Every Spouse Act, or the SAVE LIVES Act, expanded the Department of Veterans Affairs’ legal authority to provide vaccines to all veterans, their spouses, caregivers and some beneficiaries.

“The SAVE LIVES Act increases the number of individuals who are eligible to get lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines from VA from 9.5 million to more than 33 million,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a statement.

Those seeking vaccines within the Bay Pines system can make an appointment or walk in to the C.W. Bill Young Medical Center in Pinellas County, the Lee County VA Healthcare Center in Cape Coral and all of its community-based outpatient clinics between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, according to spokeswoman Anna Hancock. Most of the sites will be offering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those interested in making an appointment can call 727-395-2400.

More than 34,900 veterans, employees and federal partners had been fully vaccinated within the Bay Pines system by Wednesday morning, according to national data.

As of Tuesday, the Tampa VA system was still working through plans to expand its vaccinations to those outside the VA medical system, according to spokesman Ed Drohan. However they are notifying veterans enrolled in VA medical care that their spouses and caregivers are eligible to walk in for vaccines at established clinics.

More than 38,600 veterans, employees and federal partners had been fully vaccinated within the Tampa system by Wednesday morning.

Additionally, all veterans and their family members are eligible at the drive-thru clinic at the Yuengling Center, Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon at 12499 USF Bull Run Drive in Tampa.

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