Mesa County, Colo. – The Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.
The highly contagious Delta Variant continues to rise among unvaccinated individuals, causing a jump in hospitalizations. So, the VA became the first of nearly 60 leading healthcare and medical organizations to call for vaccine requirements. However, there will be exceptions to the mandate,
“They recognize that we will have staff that have medical situations that warrant special consideration. in addition some of our staff have religious situations that we need to take into account,” says VA Executive Director Richard Saguiero.
The COVID-19 vaccine will now be mandatory for certain medical personnel – including physicians, dentists, registered nurses, and anyone who provides direct care to vets,
“Mesa County’s own VA medical facility says it will be requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated too,” says KREX5’s Reilly Spence.
Employees will have 8 weeks from Monday’s announcement to get vaccinated, however Mesa County’s VA says most of their staff has already gotten the shot,
“We have about 790 employees, of which 90 percent are already vaccinated, and I’m very proud of that. I think the others are still considering taking it, but I think this latest directive will sort of push that thing along,” continues Saguiero.
It is unclear what will happen to employees that refuse to get vaccinated.
While it is a controversial decision – the VA believes it is in line with longstanding policies in the healthcare industry for staff to have up-to-date vaccinations, such as flu shots.