Veteran Affairs becomes first federal agency to require staff vaccinations

On Monday, the Department of Veteran Affairs, a federal agency, announced that it would be mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for its staff members.

The Department of Veteran Affairs released a statement Monday regarding the Covid-19 vaccination and its staff. In it, Denis McDonough, the secretary of the department, announced the vaccine would be mandatory for all Title 38 VA healthcare personnel. People affected by this are members of the health field who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities or provide care to people the VA serves. Their goal is to keep the veterans it serves safe and healthy. The statement said that affected staff would have eight weeks to become fully vaccinated. 

115,000 Veterans Affairs employees will be subject to this new requirement according to The New York Times. At the time of publication, it reported that approximately 70% of V.A. employees had been vaccinated. The department offered early access to the vaccine for its employees.

The White House has not determined if mandating the vaccine is legal or constitutional. There are growing concerns of a resurgence as the delta variant spreads and vaccine rates have remained lower than many had hoped for. The Department of Veteran Affairs’ decision was supported by several medical organizations, such as the American Hospital Association. In addition, many medical organizations have advocated for mandated vaccines for healthcare workers, including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, and the American College of Physicians.



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