WASHINGTON (WNCN) – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday it is requiring all its medical employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The requirement applies to all Title 38 VA health care personnel who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit those facilities, or provide direct care to those who the VA serves. That includes physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries and chiropractors.

Employees have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated, a news release said.

“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,” McDonough said. “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. With this mandate, we can once again make — and keep — that fundamental promise.”

The VA also said it has lost four employees to COVID-19 in recent weeks — all were unvaccinated. At least three “because of the increasingly prevalent delta variant,” the release said.

The VA said the decision is supported by medical organizations like the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals and a Multisociety group of the leading Infectious Disease Societies.