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Sen. Sinema expands vaccine effort for veterans

CBS 13's April Hettinger investigates the planning process in prioritizing vaccine rollout

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A new measure introduced by Arizona's senior senator promises to send more vaccines to local veterans and their families.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, (D-Ariz.) recently introduced the SAVE LIVES Act. It allows the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to give out vaccines to veterans, spouses, caregivers and dependents at no cost.

The measure also makes getting shots to military families a priority.

“Expanding access to coronavirus vaccines for Arizona veterans’ families and caregivers better protects the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country’s security,” said Sen. Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

However, a local military spouse, Melodie Bell, doesn't necessarily agree with the priority.

"What would be upsetting or concerning to me is taking away somebody's priority based off of your spouse's affiliation with the military," Bell explained.

She says there are still some in the older age group that haven't been able to get a vaccine scheduled because of lack of technology knowledge, transportation or even supply.

As Seen on TV / Military / Top Stories / Yuma County / Yuma County Coronavirus
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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After a short 3 ½ years, she earned bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with minors in Journalism and Spanish but gained memories and friendships she will always remember.

She began her broadcast journalism career through NAZ Today, northern Arizona’s local news station, by covering breaking news, building relationships with the community, learning to produce a newscast and anchoring live. Although she will miss her snowy mountain town, she is excited to further her broadcast career and take on the heat in a great city like Yuma.

She is looking forward to floating down at the Colorado River, riding dirt bikes at the sand dunes, and most importantly, serving the community through local news.

You can send any story ideas her way by emailing


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