We offer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible Veterans at no cost. Find out how to get your COVID-19 vaccine at VA. And get the latest VA vaccine updates and answers to common questions.
Change in eligibility requirements for vaccines at VA
The federal COVID-19 public health emergency ended on May 11, 2023. This means that only Veterans enrolled in VA health care are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA.
New guidance for updated vaccines
The CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 and older get an updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
If you haven’t had an updated vaccine
You should get a single dose of the updated vaccine now. This is true even if you never got the original (monovalent) vaccine. If you have certain conditions that weaken your immune system, your provider may prescribe more than one dose.
If you already had one dose of the updated vaccine
You may be eligible to get an additional dose if one of these is true for you:
- You’re 65 years of age or older and it’s been at least 4 months since your first updated COVID-19 vaccine dose, or
- You have certain conditions that weaken your immune system and it’s been at least 2 months since your first updated COVID-19 vaccine dose. Ask your provider how many doses they recommend for you. They may prescribe additional doses for you.
We offer free COVID-19 testing to eligible Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care.
Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA
We offer COVID-19 vaccines to all Veterans enrolled in VA health care. This includes Veterans who live or travel outside of the U.S. and are eligible for the VA Foreign Medical Program.
More information about who can get a vaccine
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I'm pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding?
Yes. The CDC and other experts strongly recommend that people who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Pregnant people are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Severe illness may mean having to go to the hospital, needing a ventilator to breathe, or having an illness that results in death. Pregnant people also have an increased risk of preterm birth.
COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19. And experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I've already had COVID-19?
Yes. Data from clinical trials show that the authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe in people who’ve been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 in the past.
If you’re currently sick from COVID-19, you should wait until you’ve recovered and you’re finished with isolation to get a vaccine.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time?
Yes. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time. Here’s what the CDC recommends:
- If you haven’t gotten your currently recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
- Try to get a flu vaccine by the end of October. A flu shot is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health every year.
Note: Only Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can get flu shots at VA health facilities. Call before you come in to make sure the facility has both vaccines.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA
We encourage you to stay up to date with all of your recommended vaccines. It’s the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community against COVID-19. This is especially important as new forms (or “variants”) of the coronavirus spread more quickly in the U.S.
How to get your COVID-19 vaccine
We offer COVID-19 vaccines to all Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care and eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine based on CDC recommendations.
- VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System offers walk-in for Veterans requesting a COVID-19 vaccine. When you arrive, you may need to wait for the staff to prepare your vaccine. Walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccine are available from 08:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Or call to schedule an appointment. Our staff will help you find a time that’s convenient for you.
Here’s what to know before you arrive:
- Not all VA health facilities have all vaccines right now. And facilities may offer different vaccines at different times. Confirm that our facility has the vaccine you want before you come in to get your vaccine.
- We may ask you to wear a mask and complete our COVID-19 symptom screening.
More information about getting your vaccine
It’s always your choice if you want to get a vaccine or not. Your decision won’t affect your VA health care or any of your VA benefits in any way.
If you have questions before you decide to get your vaccine:
Before you get your vaccine
Where we offers COVID-19 vaccines
VA health facilities
VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System offers COVID-19 vaccines at our VA outpatient clinics in Harlingen, McAllen, Corpus Christi and Laredo.
Community care facilities
Urgent care locations and retail pharmacies in our community care network also offer COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans. These locations follow their local, state, or territory vaccine plans. Veterans don’t receive priority over others seeking vaccines at these locations.
If you’re enrolled in VA health care and you go to a community care location to get a COVID-19 vaccine, download our pharmacy billing information card (PDF). Show the card to the provider before you get your vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are currently provided free of charge to all Americans and there will be no cost to you for receiving your COVID-19 vaccine.
We encourage you to take the first opportunity you have to get a vaccine at the most convenient location for you.
How we contact Veterans about getting a vaccine
If you’re currently receiving care at VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, we may contact you by phone. If you’re eligible and want to get a vaccine, we encourage you to respond.
Here are some information before you provide any personal information:
- Text messages will always come from 80728.
- Emails will always come from a va.gov email address.
- If someone calls you from VA and you don’t recognize the phone number, ask for a number to call them back. Then call your local VA health facility to verify.
What to tell your health care provider before you get your COVID-19 vaccine
Before you get a vaccine, tell the provider giving you the vaccine about all your health conditions. Be sure to tell your provider if any of the below are true for you:
- You have any allergies
- You have a fever
- You have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
- You have a condition that weakens your immune system and makes you immunocompromised (like cancer, HIV, an organ transplant, or a genetic immune deficiency)
- You’re taking a medicine that affects your immune system (like chemotherapy or corticosteroids)
- You’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
- You’ve received another COVID-19 vaccine
If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredients in a COVID-19 vaccine, you shouldn’t get the same COVID-19 vaccine again. But you may be able to receive a different type of COVID-19 vaccine.
To find out what you should know before you get a vaccine, including a list of ingredients, read the FDA fact sheets:
- FDA Janssen COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet (PDF)
- FDA Moderna COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet (PDF)
- FDA Novavax COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet (PDF)
- FDA Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet
After you get your vaccine
What to expect after you get your COVID-19 vaccine
You may have some side effects after you get a COVID-19 vaccine. Side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection against COVID-19.
These side effects may feel like the flu. They may even affect your ability to work or do other daily activities. But any side effects should go away in a few days.
Some people have reported severe allergic reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine. When you get a COVID-19 vaccine at VA, we’ll closely monitor your reaction for either 15 or 30 minutes after your vaccine. We’ll also give you all the information you need about what to do if you experience any side effects.
To learn more about the side effects reported for the 4 authorized vaccines, read the FDA fact sheets: