(ETH) – The US Department of Veterans Affairs has just announced that it will require healthcare employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 within the next two months, becoming the first federal agency to do so according to a new report from Insider.
“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,” Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said in a written statement. “With this mandate, we can once again make — and keep — that fundamental promise.”
The Veterans Affairs vaccine mandate applies to all frontline healthcare staff, like doctors, nurses, and dentists, the department said. President Joe Biden confirmed the new policy on Monday afternoon.
President Biden confirms the Department of Veterans Affairs will require its doctors to be vaccinated against COVID. pic.twitter.com/5NwmBdKDWA
— The Recount (@therecount) July 26, 2021
About 70 percent of workers in VA centers are already vaccinated — that’s higher than the national average — but clients in these settings are older and sicker, so VA officials want to increase safety, according to the times. There have been recent outbreaks among staff at health centers in Little Rock, Baltimore, Orlando, and Chicago, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, according to MSN News, California will soon require state employees and all healthcare workers to provide proof of COVID-19 inoculation or get tested at least once a week, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom who announced on Monday as he vowed that the Golden State will have the “strongest vaccine verification system in the US.”
“Too many people have chosen to live with this virus,” Newsom said during a press briefing where he announced the new vaccination requirement, which will take effect next month.
The Democratic governor added, “We’re at a point in this epidemic, this pandemic, where individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way.”
There are 246,000 state employees in California who will be impacted by the order. Additionally, there are at least 2 million healthcare workers in the public and private sectors in the state who fall under the mandate, according to the Associated Press.