WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will require many of its front-line health workers to be vaccinated, a senior administration official said Monday, making the agency the first area of the federal government to require shots among some of its workers.
It was a major step from the administration toward backing vaccine requirements, which it had until now been reluctant to support.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House supported the call made Monday by a large collective of medical associations that vaccines be mandated for all U.S. health personnel.
"These actions, in our view, are meant to keep patients and employees safe and in fact, I expect our own federal health care providers may look at similar requirements as they do with other vaccines," she said.
The New York Times was first to report on the move by the VA, explaining it as follows:
The mandate will apply to roughly 115,000 workers who are “the most patient-facing,” Denis McDonough, the secretary of veterans affairs, said. Beginning Wednesday, those health care workers will have eight weeks to get fully vaccinated or face penalties including possible removal, he said.