HHS the latest agency to mandate COVID vaccinations for health care workers

The Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced it will require its health care workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest federal agency to issue a vaccine mandate with cases of the more transmissible delta variant on the rise.

Also on Thursday, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded its vaccine mandate to include most Veterans Health Administration employees, volunteers and contractors.

The HHS decision will affect more than 25,000 federal workers, the department said.

“Our number one goal is the health and safety of the American public, including our federal workforce, and vaccines are the best tool we have to protect people from COVID-19, prevent the spread of the delta variant and save lives,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday.

“As President Biden has said, we are looking at every way we can to increase vaccinations to keep more people safe, and requiring our HHS health care workforce to get vaccinated will protect our federal workers, as well as the patients and people they serve.”

The agency said that staff at the Indian Health Service and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who serve in federally operated health care and clinical research facilities and interact with, or have the potential to come into contact with, patients, will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. – READ MORE