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VA mandates COVID-19 vaccines

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As reported on July 26, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough announced he would make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for Title 38 VA health care personnel — including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries, and chiropractors — who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities or provide direct care to those VA serves.

At the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, those Health Care Personnel (HCP) appointed to positions labeled as Title 38 must be fully vaccinated within eight weeks of the publication of VHA Directive 1193 or within eight weeks of beginning employment. Only medical and religious exemptions are permitted and those in violation of this Directive may face disciplinary action up to and including removal from Federal service.

“Veterans deserve a fully vaccinated workforce to ensure their safety from the moment they step inside our medical center,” said Richard Crockett, medical center director, Overton Brooks VA Medical Center. “Here at Shreveport VA, we will continue to provide easy access to COVID-19 vaccines for our employees. As with other vaccinations, employees may also obtain vaccines from outside providers.”

Transmission of COVID-19 viral variants, such as the currently circulating Delta variant, raises public health concerns that hospitalization rates will rise, along with severe or fatal outcomes for those who contract COVID-19. Vaccinated employees minimize their risk of getting COVID-19, are less likely to get or spread the virus to others, will protect Veterans, co-workers, and family members.

VA is taking this necessary step to keep the Veterans it serves safe.

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