Serious Mental Illness Diagnosis and COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in the Veterans Health Administration

Psychiatr Serv. 2022 Aug 1;73(8):918-921. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2022 Jan 18.


Objective: This study examined the association between serious mental illness diagnoses and COVID-19 vaccination among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients.

Methods: The sample (N=4,890,693) comprised veterans ages ≥18 years with VHA outpatient visits from March 1, 2018, through February 29, 2020. Veterans with serious mental illness were identified with ICD-10 diagnostic codes from electronic health records of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Receipt of a VHA COVID-19 vaccine from December 1, 2020, through June 1, 2021, was documented by using procedure codes. Treatment effects estimation with inverse-probability weighting was used to estimate the effects of serious mental illness on COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Results: Patients with serious mental illness and patients without serious mental illness were equally likely to receive a vaccination (48% and 46%, respectively; average effect of serious mental illness=-0.4%, 95% confidence interval=-0.8% to 0.1%).

Conclusions: VHA outreach activities have contributed to equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Serious mental illness; Utilization patterns and review; Vaccine uptake; Veterans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans Health
  • Veterans*


  • COVID-19 Vaccines