COVID-19

The Department of Veterans Affairs administers COVID-19 vaccines in a repurposed dining area at the Durham, North Carolina VA medical center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

Congress has told the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer COVID-19 vaccines to some 24 million people who don't usually get their health care through the VA.

At a drive-through vaccination site in Elizabeth City, N.C., Tech Sgt. Steven Simpson of the North Carolina National Guard administers a COVID-19 vaccination as Maj. Hollis Guenther gives the next recipient instructions about the vaccine.
Jay Price / American Homefront

More than a dozen states have called up the National Guard to help at vaccination sites, and Joe Biden may mobilize Guard units nationally.

Trainees march in formation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The Air Force has restructured basic military training so that there is less travel time and fewer opportunities to practice drill.
Carson Frame / American Homefront

Health and safety precautions during the pandemic have led the Air Force to eliminate parts of basic training. But some military observers question whether the changes are leaving airmen unprepared for duty.

Iraq War veteran Roberto Cruz said he realized he needed mental health treatment after he got sick with COVID-19 in July and spent weeks in isolation.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

Months of physical distancing and pandemic anxiety has been especially tough on veterans who were already dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related injuries.

Burnout is a common problem for family members who care for disabled veterans. And for many of them, the pandemic has made things even harder.

Retired Army Colonel Herminio Blas-Irizarry volunteered for a VA COVID-19 vaccine trial. "It's something I want to do for my country," he said.
Stephanie Colombini / American Homefront

More than 50 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers are involved in trials to test vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, and the agency is calling on vets to volunteer.

Medical personnel care for a patient in the parking garage of the  James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa. Much of the emergency department has been relocated outside.
Ed Drohan / James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital

Medical facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs are reopening at a slower pace than many civilian health systems. But the VA has recently started to expand in-person care.

Comedian Fernando Sanchez warms up attendees of American Legion Post 397's comedy night Oct. 10. The Monterey Park, Cal. post has turned to events like this to raise money during the pandemic.
Robert Garrova / American Homefront

American Legion posts across the country serve as a community hub for veterans and their families. But the pandemic has put the future of many posts in jeopardy.

At General Clarence Tinker K-8 School on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., about four in five students are attending classes in person.
Danielle Quilla / U.S. Air Force

Most military children are used to moving and changing schools. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be especially hard to make friends and feel comfortable in a new place.

Navy spouse Kellie Kopec lived in an RV with her husband and seven month old daughter as they waited for a waiver that would allow them to complete their move from California to Virginia.
Andrea Dukleth / KPBS

The military issued a "stop movement" order in March in response to the pandemic. While the ban has been loosened, some service members and their families still can't relocate to new bases.

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