WASHINGTON (WRBL) – By the end of the week, the Department of Veterans Affairs will be expanding its vaccine mandate to include most of its employees and volunteers.
According to a news release from Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, on August 13, 2021, the department will expand the previous COVID-19 vaccine mandate to apply to most Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employees and volunteers and contractors who work in VHA facilities, visit VHA facilities or otherwise come into contact with VA patients and healthcare workers as part of their duties.
In the release, McDonough said expanding the mandate is the best way to keep Veterans safe, particularly with the Delta variant spreading rapidly across the country.
“This pandemic is not over and VA must do everything in our power to protect Veterans from COVID-19. With this expanded mandate, we can once again make—and keep—that fundamental promise,” McDonough said.
Under the expanded mandate, employees who will need to be vaccinated include Hybrid Title 38, and Title 5 VA health care personnel including the following:
- social workers
- nursing assistants
- physical therapists
- respiratory therapists
- peer specialists
- medical support assistants
- other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees who come into contact with VA patients and healthcare workers
As with the previous mandate, employees will have eight weeks to provide proof of vaccination to their local VHA Occupational Health Office.
The vaccine is available at no cost to employees, who will receive four hours of paid administrative leave following proof of vaccination.