WASHINGTON D.C. –– The Department of Veterans Affairs becomes the first federal agency to mandate all Title 38 VA health care personnel to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.
All physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries, and chiropractors that are employed with Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities or provide direct care VA patients will have eight weeks be become fully vaccinated.
“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,” said Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough. “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.”
According to the VA, the department has lost four employees in recent weeks to COVID-19 –– none of whom were vaccinated.
"At least three of those employees died because of the increasingly prevalent Delta variant," said the V.A. "There has also been an outbreak among unvaccinated employees and trainees at a VA Law Enforcement Training Center, the third such outbreak during the pandemic."
All VA employees are eligible to be vaccinated at no personal expense. Employees will also receive four hours of paid administrative leave after demonstrating they have been vaccinated.
According to the VA, the decision to require vaccines has the support of multiple medical organizations:
- American Hospital Association
- America’s Essential Hospitals
- Multisociety group of the leading Infectious Disease Societies
- American Medical Association
- American Nurses Association
- American College of Physicians
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Association of American Medical Colleges
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice