V.A. Will Mandate Vaccines for Most Medical Center Workers
The Department of Veterans Affairs will demand that nearly all workers, volunteers and contractors in its vast healthcare system be vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next eight weeks, unlike the Pentagon which has resisted immediate mandates of the 1.3 million active from the country. service troops.
Last month, the department began requiring injections for 115,000 of its frontline health workers, making it the first federal agency to require employees, including doctors, dentists and registered nurses, are vaccinated. Those who refuse run the risk of penalties up to and including revocation.
The expansion, which will impact around 245,000 new workers, was announced Thursday by Denis McDonough, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus continues to spread rapidly across the country, threatening hundreds of thousands of veterans seeking care. . Together, the two mandates will cover 360,000 workers and contractors.
“This pandemic is not over and VA must do everything in our power to protect the veterans of Covid-19”, Mr McDonough said in a statement. “With this expanded mandate, we can once again make and keep this fundamental promise.”
Under the expanded mandate, a wide range of workers, including psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, licensed practical nurses, physiotherapists, engineers, housekeepers, and most others who come into contact with patients will need to be vaccinated. The authorities are also considering extending this requirement to visitors.
The mandate would not extend to workers outside the medical system, such as administrative workers in Washington and beyond, although Mr McDonough recently said he would consider making them mandatory for top officials to donate. The example.
As of last week, about 63% of the 351,000 employees of the Veterans Health Administration were fully immunized. The administration is the largest integrated health care system in the United States, with 1,293 health facilities.
The Pentagon announced earlier this week that it would make vaccinations mandatory for troops “no later than” by the middle of next month rather than requiring them immediately, bowing to concerns expressed by White House officials about setting up a mandate for the troops before the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of the vaccine, expected in the coming weeks. President Biden under federal law can order troops to take vaccines not yet approved by the FDA
Dozens of hospitals and health systems have forced their workers to get vaccinated, and recent court rulings have upheld the right of employers to require vaccinations.
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