Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding its previous COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The order will give “most” VA employees, volunteers, and contractors eight weeks to provide proof of vaccination or face termination. Under the upcoming expanded vaccine mandate Hybrid Title 38 employees and Title 5 VA personnel are also included.
“We’re now including most VHA employees and volunteers and contractors in the vaccine mandate. Because it remains the best way to keep Veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads.” McDonough said.
These include psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees who encounter VA patients and healthcare workers.
According to the VA, the expanded VA vaccine mandate has support from numerous medical organizations. The American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Association of American Medical Colleges area among those organizations.
The expansion follows a July 26 mandate from the VA requiring proof of vaccination for Title 38 employees. Physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries, and chiropractors were also given eight weeks to show proof of vaccine or lose their jobs.
VA employees who do not show proof of vaccination risk losing their jobs under the mandates. The VA is also incentivizing taking a vaccine. All employees are eligible to receive a COVID vaccine free of charge from the department. Additionally, the VA offers four hours of paid administrative leave after an employee demonstrates they are vaccinated.