Veteran reporter Kelly O’Donnell told Biden his comment was a “compliment” and brought a laugh from the president (pictured in the White House briefing room on July 6.)
Biden snapped at an NBC reporter who asked about the Department of Veterans’ Affairs vaccine mandate Monday during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi at the White House on Monday.
After meeting with the Iraqi leader, Biden raised several questions about the United States’ relationship with Iraq and US strategy in the Middle East.
As White House staff began leading reporters out of the room, O’Donnell raised a question about Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough’s department-wide COVID vaccine mandate to his health professionals.
“You’re such a pain in the neck, but I’m going to answer your question because we’ve known each other for so long,” the president retorted.
O’Donnell replied, “I take that as a compliment, Mr. President,” and he got a chuckle from Biden.
O’Donnell, a veteran journalist who joined NBC in 1994, first covered the White House under the George W. Bush administration.
O’Donnell seemed to clarify that her exchange with Biden was friendly by stating that he brought out the insult “with a smile.”
Biden told her the question had “nothing to do with Iraq” before confirming McDonough’s announcement.
‘Yes. Veteran Affairs will, in effect, require all physicians working in facilities to be vaccinated,” Biden said of health professionals at the VA.
However, he did not respond when O’Donnell attempted to request a follow-up on further COVID vaccine requirements for federal employees.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Monday becomes the first federal agency to require its frontline health workers to be vaccinated.
President Joe Biden said “all docs” working at Veterans Affairs Department facilities should be vaccinated after clicking NBC’s O’Donnell for asking the question
After the action, 115,000 employees have two months to be vaccinated against the corona virus and can be fired if they do not comply with the measures.
The move comes after the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and dozens of other medical groups joined a pronunciation advocating mandatory vaccinations for health professionals amid the peak in the Delta variant and rising infections in states with low vaccination rates.
“We call on all healthcare and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19,” they wrote. “The health and safety of American workers, families, communities and the nation depends on it.”
Biden confirmed that “all docs” at the VA would be asked to take the photo ahead of his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in the Oval Office – though in fact the policy would be more generous within the VA.
Denis McDonough, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, told the… New York Times“I’m doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, period.
McDonough, who served as White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, added that the mandates would apply to those employees who have the most contact with patients.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Monday becomes the first federal agency to require its frontline health workers to be vaccinated. WWII Army Veteran John Stephens, 96, Gets the Shot in Vancouver, Washington
This includes doctors, dentists, nurses, physician assistants and physical therapists at VA medical centers across the country.
“It’s the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant is spreading across the country,” McDonough said in a statement. Whenever a veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we’ve done everything we can to protect them from COVID-19. With this mandate, we can once again make and keep that fundamental promise.’
The Biden administration has so far been unwilling to support federal vaccine mandates and has insisted that it is up to private companies.
The move came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House “supports hospital moves” to require staff to be vaccinated, saying it “could be a guide for us on what to do.” do with our own staff here from the federal government’ .’
She noted that there are “certain powers” that the federal government has, and “certain powers that the federal government does not have.”
She mentioned the role of experts at the Centers for Disease Control and went on to say, “There are decisions by institutions, by municipality, by hospital systems, that can make decisions about how to protect their staff. We certainly support that.’
The president could legally force members of the military to shoot, but has so far refused to issue the order.
Medical staff applauds before Vietnam War Army veteran James Curry, 78, (R) receives a COVID-19 vaccination at a Veterans Affairs long-term care facility on Dec. 17, 2020 in Vancouver, Washington. The VA’s move comes as dozens of medical groups have called for mandatory vaccinations for health workers
The military has fought with low inoculation in their ranks, but cannot force anyone until the vaccines are fully approved by the FDA.
But there are more concerns about the spread of the Delta variant that has sparked a wave of cases in the US.
On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all city employees should be vaccinated.
California also announced that all state workers should be given the opportunity if they wanted to return to work.