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Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Veterans, their spouses and caregivers will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Department of Veterans Affairs as soon as doses are available, according to newly finalized legislation.

Why it matters: The VA has counted more than 11,000 deaths and recorded more than 223,500 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the medical system.

The state of play: President Biden is expected to sign the congressionally approved measure into law in the coming days, the Military Times reports.

  • Under existing rules, VA medical facilities can only give vaccines to those who are eligible for VA health services, as well as some caregivers registered in departmental support programs.
  • The number of people eligible for the vaccine through the VA currently hovers around 7 million. Under the new bill, that figure would jump to more than 20 million, per Military Times.
  • The bill would also allow veterans who are living abroad and enrolled in the VA's Foreign Medical Program to access the vaccine through the department.

The big picture: VA officials have cited concerns about supply challenges.

  • "When we have the supply to do it we will be in a position to really ramp that up," VA secretary Denis McDonough told CNN on Thursday.
  • Congress is expected to urge the Department of Health and Human Services to increase the VA's vaccine stock as much as the supply chain allows.

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First fatality confirmed in downtown Austin mass shooting

Police barricades near the scene of a shooting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A 25-year-old man died Sunday of injuries sustained in a mass shooting that wounded 13 other people in downtown Austin, Texas, the previous day, police confirmed.

Driving the news: Austin police named the victim as Douglas John Kantor, as they continued to search for one of two suspects. One suspect was taken into custody on Saturday following the shooting on 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants.

Pelosi demands Barr and Sessions testify on data subpoenas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an event San Francisco, California, on Friday. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on reports that the Trump-era Department of Justice seized Democrats' and journalists' data records.

Driving the news: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal investigation into the matter, and Pelosi expressed disbelief to CNN's Dana Bash at assertions that neither Barr nor Sessions knew of probes into lawmakers.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Netanyahu is out as new Israeli government survives confidence vote

Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday. Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

Why it matters: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister and the man around whom Israeli politics have revolved for a decade, will now become opposition leader. Bennett, a right-wing former Netanyahu protege, will lead the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.

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