Despite the White House’s reluctance to apply mandates, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be the first government department to impose a vaccine obligation for its healthcare professionals.

Vaccinations will now be required for those who serve in departmental buildings or give direct treatment to veterans at the VA as well as medical workers, including doctors, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, according to VA Secretary Denis McDonough.

“It’s the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the delta variant spreads across the country,” McDonough said according to ABC 10.

McDonough claimed the mandate is the right and essential step, the New York Times (NYT) reported. Officials are concerned because the delta form, which is thought to be more transmissible, accounts for 83 percent of new COVID-19 cases.

The VA is mandating vaccines for 115,000 of its frontline healthcare staff. If the employees do not get fully vaccinated in the next eight weeks, commencing on Wednesday, July 28, they could lose their jobs, said McDonough.

Employees in the healthcare business have long been required to keep up with immunizations, such as annual flu jabs. Exceptions are allowed for medical concerns, such as known allergies, as a normal principle.

The Biden administration, which stated that it will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) standards and that it is up to private firms and local governments to put these measures in place, has been hesitant to support vaccine mandates.

The American Academy of Nursing, the American Public Health Association, the American Pharmacists Association, LeadingAge, a nursing home industry group, and the National Medical Association, which represents Black physicians as well as the American Medical Association, were among the medical and health care organizations that called for required shots for healthcare employees.

The COVID-19 vaccines are complicated because they have yet to receive full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are still only available under emergency use permission. Therefore, some people are hesitant about the lack of complete approval. For instance, the army leaders have stated that immunizations will not be mandated until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives full permission.

“The FDA is the gold standard in our view, and they move at the speed of science,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told journalists on Monday, July 26.“They look at a range of data, and they make sure that when they make conclusions and when they get full approval, they have confidence in the science and the data that backs that up. It wouldn’t be responsible to expedite that process at a faster speed than the science and data allows.”