The US Department of Veterans Affairs announced that more than 100,000 health workers will have to receive Covid vaccines, which is an indication of the change in the position of the administration of President Joe Biden about imposing vaccination with the outbreak of the most contagious mutant Delta.
The move comes in light of a broader shift, as California and New York City announced that official employees will have to receive vaccinations or undergo Covid examinations weekly, while California went further and imposed this on health employees in the private sector.
“Whenever a veteran or veteran employee walks into a department facility, he deserves to know that we’ve done everything we can to protect him from Covid,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dennis McDonough said in a statement yesterday.
“By imposing (vaccination) we can fulfill this basic promise,” he said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the first federal agency to mandate vaccination, in a move the Biden administration has so far reluctant to take.
The statement indicated that four unvaccinated ministry employees have died in recent weeks.
Currently, employees such as doctors, dentists and ophthalmologists, as well as nurses and others, have an eight-week deadline to obtain the full doses of vaccines.
Ministry officials indicated earlier this month that more than 70 percent of the agency’s 300,000 employees had received their full doses of vaccines. The new order applies to 115,000 people, according to the Military Times website.
The decision will apply in California to about 240,000 government employees and hundreds of thousands of health workers in the private sector, while full compliance with it will be required by August 21, according to the office of Governor Gavin Newsom.
As for New York’s decision, it will take effect from September 13 and will apply to more than 300,000 city employees, including police, firefighters and teachers, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday.
In turn, San Francisco Mayor London Post said that anyone appointed by the city or counties will have to receive vaccinations before starting work.
Delta outbreak – The United States is witnessing an outbreak of the Corona virus, driven by Delta, the most contagious mutated so far detected, and which is responsible for more than 89 percent of infections in the United States, according to estimates.
According to the “Covid Act Now” website, which tracks infections, about 52,000 cases of the virus are recorded daily. But with 80% of the elderly receiving full doses of vaccines, the number of cases requiring hospitalization and deaths decreased compared to previous epidemic waves.
Slightly more than 49 percent of the US population has received full doses of vaccines, well below the 85 to 90 percent that experts estimate leads to immunity for the population.
“We have reached 67% (counting previous infections), so we need to vaccinate more” of people, said Ashish Jaa, Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, in a tweet the day before yesterday.
But there is growing controversy over the imposition of vaccination.
57 groups representing millions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers have called for vaccination to be made mandatory for all health personnel.
A recent report published by WebMD on 2,500 hospitals revealed that about out of four health employees did not receive vaccinations.
While Democratic-controlled areas require vaccinations, many Republican-led states have passed laws banning them, especially in schools.
But with the largest number of hospitalized COVID cases and deaths among the mostly politically conservative unvaccinated, there are now indications that Republican lawmakers are shifting their positions.
“These vaccines are saving lives,” Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis said last week.
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