In a friendly exchange, President Biden on Monday called an NBC reporter a “pain in the neck” for asking about mandatory vaccination for those working in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
After the bilateral meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Monday, Joe Biden was asked by NBC News’s Kelly O’Donnell about mandatory vaccines for those working in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“You are such a pain in the neck, but I’m going to answer your question because we’ve known each other for so long. It has nothing to do with Iraq. I’ll answer your question. Yes, Veteran Affairs is going to, in fact, require that all docs working in facilities are going to have to be vaccinated,” said President Biden, smiling.
She, however, retorted, “I take that as a compliment, Mr President,” drawing another laugh from Mr Biden.
The president, however, didn’t answer a follow-up question up about Covid-19 vaccine requirements for other federal employees.
She also indicated in her posts on Twitter that the exchange was friendly.
“The president called me a "pain in the neck" (with a smile) as I pressed him on a NEW mandate for doctors at [Department of Veterans Affairs] hospitals to get the Covid vaccine. He did not respond when I pressed if there would be further federal required vaccines,” she tweeted.
On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get Covid-19 vaccines. Following this mandate, employees will have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, vaccines will now be mandatory for certain medical personnel — including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants and others who work in departmental facilities or provide direct care to veterans, said the VA Secretary Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.
“It’s the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the delta variant spreads across the country. Whenever a veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from Covid-19,” said Mr McDonough said in a statement.
Nearly 60 leading medical and health care organisations have also issued a call for health care facilities to require their workers to get vaccinated.
The US is witnessing a rise in Covid-19 due to the Delta variant spreading across the country with some communities report troubling increases in hospitalisations among unvaccinated people.
Additional reporting by agencies
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