VHA Office of Community Care
Frequently Asked Questions about the VA Retail Immunization Care Coordination Program
What are the benefits of the VA Retail Immunization Care Coordination Program?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is excited about how the convenience of immunizations from retail provider Walgreens, combined with integrated health records, can improve immunization rates and expand access for Veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system. For patients, the option of receiving immunizations at retail providers offers more convenience and choice to get important vaccines.
Additionally, when a VA-enrolled patient receives a flu vaccine at a participating Walgreens provider, an immunization record is automatically transmitted to VA and becomes part of the patient’s VA health record without having to complete any VA forms. VA patients can view this information on their My HealtheVet Blue Button, a tool to make patient medical records easily available for patients to download and share with members of their health care team.
Vaccines are subject to availability. State, age, and health-related restrictions may apply.
Why would I get a flu shot at Walgreens when I could get it at my local VA?
VHA medical facilities offer free flu shots to Veterans enrolled in VA health care. You are encouraged to visit the nearest facility and receive a flu vaccine each flu season. If that distance is too great, you now have another option. VA has partnered with Walgreens to provide flu vaccine at no cost to Veterans enrolled in VA health care. This partnership increases access to flu vaccine and improves vaccination rates among enrolled Veterans.
Are the same flu shots available at Walgreens that I would receive at a VA?
Not all flu vaccines are made by the same company. The flu vaccines you receive at VA or Walgreens will help protect you from the flu this season.
Will I need to pay or is there a charge for a flu shot at Walgreens?
There is no cost to Veterans enrolled in VA health care for quadrivalent vaccine at Walgreens. However, if you decide to get another vaccine or different type of flu vaccine, Walgreens may charge you, your private insurance, or Medicare.
These no-cost flu shots are available nationwide from August 15, 2017, through March 31, 2018. Vaccines are subject to availability and may be in limited supply after March 1, 2018. VA-enrolled patients simply need to notify a pharmacist at a participating Walgreens that they are an enrolled Veteran in the VA health care system, and show their VA ID card along with a federal or state photo ID.
After March 31, 2018, applicable charges to third party insurance may apply. Walgreens also accepts most insurance plans depending on eligibility. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health plans are required to provide flu shots without charging a deductible, copayment or coinsurance. All patients going to Walgreens will need to fill out a Vaccine Administration Record (VAR) to receive a vaccination.
Are all Walgreens stores participating?
All Walgreens locations in the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico will be participating. To find your closest Walgreens location, go to http://www.walgreens.com/storelocator/find.jsp or, alternatively, you can search by state at http://www.walgreens.com/storelistings/storesbystate.jsp?requestType=locator.
What does a Veteran need to do to use Walgreens for their flu shot?
Simply let the Walgreens pharmacist know that you are Veteran enrolled in the VA health care system and show the VA ID card and another state or federal photo ID. That’s it! The VA-enrolled patient will be asked to fill out a Vaccine Adminstration Record (VAR) as part of the process. The VA will automatically get information about the patient’s flu shot from Walgreens.
How long will it take for a Veteran’s flu shot information to become part of their health record?
Health records will be available to VA clinicians within 24 hours of a patient receiving a vaccination. Some delays may occur.
How long does the program run?
The no-cost flu shot program starts August 15, 2017 and runs through March 31, 2018. Please note vaccine supply may be limited after March 1, 2018.
Are other retail pharmacies a part of this program?
At this time, Walgreens is the first partner of the VA Retail Immunization Care Coordination Program.
This wellness benefit is only for veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care system. Family members and Tricare members are not eligible. The no-cost flu shot option is for quadrivalent vaccine only, available now through March 31, 2018. Vaccines subject to availability. State-, age- and health-related restrictions may apply. Vaccine may be in limited supply after March 1, 2018. This does not constitute an endorsement of Walgreens or Walgreens products. Patients will also be asked to complete a vaccine consent form at time of service.