The Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States is the first federal agency to adopt a vaccine mandate.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stated Monday that more than 100,000 health-care employees will be required to receive Covid-19 vaccines, making it the first government agency to do so, while California and Additional York City announced new vaccine requirements affecting workers.
President Joe Biden’s administration had previously been hesitant to adopt such measures, but is now facing a Delta variant-driven outbreak that is mostly affecting America’s unvaccinated tens of millions.
In a news release, VA Secretary Denis McDonough stated, “Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA institution, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to safeguard them from Covid-19.”
“With this mandate, we can make – and keep – that basic promise once more.”
In recent weeks, four unvaccinated VA employees died, all of whom were unvaccinated, according to the announcement.
Physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals now have eight weeks to get fully vaccinated.
VA authorities said earlier this month that more than 70% of the agency’s 300,000 employees were completely vaccinated. According to the Military Times, the new directive affects 115,000 persons.
The action is part of a larger trend, with New York City stating that municipal workers must be vaccinated or subject to weekly tests, and California mandating a similar measure for government employees but also extending it to private sector health workers.
The directive will affect over 300,000 city employees, including police, firefighters, and teachers, and will take effect on September 13, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
According to a news release from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, the directive will affect over 240,000 state employees and hundreds of thousands more private sector health workers, with complete compliance expected by August 21.
Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor London Breed stated that everyone hired by the city or county would be required to get a vaccine before starting work, broadening the scope of a mandate imposed on current city employees last week.
Delta, the most contagious coronavirus variation known to far, is causing a rise in the United States, accounting for more than 89 percent of cases, according to estimates.
According to the Covid Act Now tracking, 52,000 people are infected every day.
Arkansas, Florida – which accounts for over a quarter of all new cases – Louisiana, and Missouri are hotspots.
Brief News from Washington Newsday.