Veterans Affairs becomes first federal agency to mandate COVID vaccinations for employees

Veterans Affairs becomes first federal agency to mandate COVID vaccinations for employees
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The Department of Veterans Affairs is the first federal agency to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for some employees, Secretary Denis McDonough announced on Monday.

Title 38 VA healthcare personnel, including physicians, dentists, registered nurses, and others, will have eight weeks to become fully vaccinated against the disease in compliance with the new policy, the department said in a press release.

"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," McDonough said. "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."

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The VA Law Enforcement Training Center has recently suffered an outbreak among unvaccinated employees and trainees, marking its third outbreak since the outset of the pandemic, the release revealed.

The department said four unvaccinated employees died from COVID-19 in recent weeks, adding at least three of them succumbed to the delta variant.

The highly transmissible delta variant, which is now responsible for a majority of new COVID-19 cases, has resulted in rising case numbers across the United States, prompting new restrictions from some local officials. Los Angeles County decided to reimpose its countywide mask mandate on July 15, even for vaccinated people, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that city employees will be required to get vaccinated or submit to testing weekly, beginning on Sept. 13.

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Those on the Right have balked at such restrictions, with governors of Texas, Florida, and other states banning vaccine passports.

The U.S. has suffered more than 34.3 million cases of COVID-19, and 608,403 deaths have been attributed to the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Tags: News, Denis McDonough, Department of Veterans Affairs, Coronavirus, Vaccination

Original Author: Carly Roman

Original Location: Veterans Affairs becomes first federal agency to mandate COVID vaccinations for employees