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Congressman says rule that led VA to deny COVID vaccine to veteran will be fixed

93-year-old World War II veteran denied vaccine

Don Schimmel, 93, is a Navy World War II veteran who is trying to get a coronavirus vaccine. The VA in Ann Arbor said that he makes too much money to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. He isn’t looking for benefits, he just wants a vaccine.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Don Schimmel, 93, is a Navy World War II veteran who is trying to get a coronavirus vaccine.

The VA in Ann Arbor said that he makes too much money to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. He isn’t looking for benefits, he just wants a vaccine.

READ: VA in Ann Arbor says veteran makes too much money to receive COVID-19 vaccine

“You are rejected, over the income limit to receive medical treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs,” the rejection letter stated.

The letter informed him that any appointments or medications set for after Feb. 24 would be cancelled.

Rep. Tim Walberg said that Congress should have seen that COVID shots were included in rules they gave the VA when it came to healthcare.

Walberg said he saw Local 4′s report and reached out to the Ann Arbor VA.

“That’s how I became aware of it and talked to the Ann Arbor VA this morning,” he said.

Walberg said that it’s Congress’s fault for not seeing that loophole and Congress is going to fix it.

“It ought to get done,” he said. “This has put a negative light on them and they do good work we ought to be able to fix it.”

Bipartisan legislation is being voted on as early as Monday to open VA’s up to any veteran who wants the vaccine.

“The fact of knowing the story and you getting the story out may move us forward quickly. Common sense needs to be done,” Walberg said.

READ: Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases


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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.