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ENC Veterans react to vaccine requirement for VA workers

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 8:26 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Health care workers at Veterans Affairs Clinics across the country are now required to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This is the first federal agency to make vaccines a requirement for their health care employees.

The US Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, said they will have two months to get vaccinated.

“We’re mandating vaccines for Title 38 employees because it’s the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads across the country,” he said in a statement.

The decision comes after four employees of the VA recently died from COVID, all of them unvaccinated.

The department has also struggled with three COVID outbreaks in their facilities, according to NBC News.

Some veterans at the Greenville VA are pleased with the new requirement.

“I want somebody that’s vaccinated to work with me. I’ll feel safer,” said Army Veteran Charlotte Goins.

“If they’re going to be taking care of somebody else, they need to be taking care of themselves first.”

“They’re health care providers,” added Rose Squire, another Army veteran who has been going to the clinic for eight years now.

“How are you going to give me health care and you’re not...giving yourself health care?”

The matter of vaccine requirements is an ongoing conversation. Hospitals like Duke University Health Care and UNC Health Care have required vaccines for employees.

In Greenville, Vidant Health has not made that decision, though they say they are in talks about potentially enforcing that mandate in their system.

Public health experts predict U.S. businesses and government agencies will enforce more vaccine requirements in the future, likely when the FDA gives full approval of a vaccine.

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