The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that the federal agency will require all of its 25,000 employees to get vaccinated.
“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,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“As President Biden has said, we have to do all we can to increase vaccinations to keep more people safe. Instructing our HHS health care workforce to get vaccinated will protect our federal workers and the patients and people they serve.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently made a similar requirement for their employees, as did the Department of Defense.
The HHS directive goes further, however.
“This includes employees, contractors, trainees, and volunteers whose duties put them in contact or potential contact with patients at an HHS medical or clinical research facility,” HHS said. “Additionally, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will immediately require members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of medical readiness procedures to prepare for any potential deployment need as emergency responders.”
The mandate has not been without its critics.
“I’m hearing shocking misinformation from some public health officials,” said Sharyll Attkinsson. “The HHS #2 under Trump falsely stated that all Covid vaccine side effects are short term and last just a week or two. This is demonstrably incorrect.