Joe Biden remarked on the U.S. government’s first COVID vaccination mandate at a federal agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“You are such a pain in the neck, but I’m going to answer your question, because I know you’ve sat there for so long,” Biden said. “It has nothing to do with Iraq.”
“The answer,” he said and laughed, “I’ll answer your question. Yes. Veterans Affairs is going to, in fact, require that all docs work in facilities are going to have to be vaccinated.”
The vaccine mandate was first reported by the New York Times.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs will require 115,000 of its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the next two months, making it the first federal agency to mandate that employees be inoculated,” the Times reported, citing goverrnment officials.
“The move comes as concern is growing that the substantial portion of the population that has not been vaccinated is contributing to the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant,” the Times added. “While it was a sharp departure from the Biden administration’s reluctance to embrace mandates, it was part of a broader shift in which New York City, many hospital chains and some private employers are deciding that the time has come to make being vaccinated a requirement.”
“I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, said in a telephone interview on Monday.
The vaccine mandate will apply to workers who are “the most patient-facing,” McDonough said, including ‘doctors, dentists, registered nurses, physician assistants and some specialists.’ “Beginning on Wednesday, those health care workers will have eight weeks to get fully vaccinated or face penalties including possible removal,” the report noted about the VA’s statement.
The New York Times noted that the White House has staked out a position that mandating vaccines is a decision for private sector companies and local communities to make. This is obviously not going to be the case, as Monday’s announcement about vaccination requirements at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs makes clear.
"*" indicates required fields
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.