Hundreds of Alaskans will be impacted by the Department of Veterans Affairs decision requiring all Title 38 VA healthcare personnel to get the experimental COVID shots.
VA Secretary Denis McDonough announced the mandate on July 26, and it will affect physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, dentists and chiropractors — who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities or provide direct care to those VA serves.
Each employee has eight weeks to comply with the mandate.
McDonough claimed the move is necessary to keep veterans safe.
“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 about the change.
Alaska’s VA Healthcare System includes hundreds of employees who work in primary, specialty, and mental health outpatient care. Services are provided through a joint venture with the U.S. Air Force on Elmendorf Air Force Base just outside of Anchorage. This includes a 50-bed residential rehab program and a 24-bed work therapy transitional program.
In addition to the main facility in Anchorage, the VA offers services in several community-based outpatient clinics across Alaska. These clinics are located in Fairbanks, Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Wasilla and Juneau.
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The Epoch times reported that earlier on July 26, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the White House hadn’t yet decided whether it was even legal to require federal employees to get COVID shots.
“It hasn’t been determined that it would be illegal, no. But we have not made a determination about that,” Psaki said.
Critics of mandatory COVID shots have warned that such policies are in fact not legally permitted because the experimental shots remain under “emergency use authorization” and have not been approved by the FDA.
As of July 26, the CDC’s website still stated, “The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for people. Additionally, CDC does not maintain or monitor a person’s vaccination records. Whether a state or local government or employer, for example, can require or mandate COVID-19 vaccination is a matter of state or other applicable law. This information now appears to be out of date.