THURSDAY, Aug. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) employees who deal with patients, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Thursday.
The order will affect more than 25,000 clinicians, researchers, contractors, trainees, and volunteers within the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Indian Health Service, and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Associated Press reported.
“Requiring our HHS health care workforce to get vaccinated will protect our federal workers, as well as the patients and people they serve,” Becerra said in a statement.
HHS employs more than 80,000 people. Those not covered by the new mandate are subject to a White House policy that compels federal workers and contractors to provide their vaccination status and requires those who are not vaccinated to get regular COVID-19 testing and places certain workplace restrictions on them, the AP reported.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said its health care workers must get vaccinated, and the Pentagon recently announced that all service members will be required to get vaccinated to maintain military readiness, the AP reported.
While vaccination is nearly universal among doctors, the same is not true for all health care workers. Nursing homes and hospitals rely on support staff for tasks ranging from clerical duties to transporting patients, and their vaccination rates often mirror those of the surrounding communities.
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