The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced Monday that all medical facility employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming the first federal agency to issue a mandate.
VA Secretary Denis McDonough stated, “We’re mandating vaccines for Title 38 employees because it’s the best way to keep Veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads across the country.” “Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19. With this mandate, we can once again make—and keep—that fundamental promise,” McDonough went on to say.
The VA’s decision comes after a coalition of 56 medical organizations, including but not limited to the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals and a Multisociety group of the leading Infectious Diseases Societies, urged healthcare providers to mandate vaccinations for all their workers as the highly transmissible delta variant spreads.
In recent weeks, the VA has lost four employees to COVID-19, all of whom were unvaccinated. Three of those employees died because of the increasingly prevalent delta variant. There has also been an outbreak among unvaccinated employees at a VA Law Enforcement Training Center.
Each employee will have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.