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State senator calls out Nebraska’s apparent recruitment of unvaccinated healthcare workers

(Ryan Swanigan (KOLN))
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska State Sen. Carol Blood called on Gov. Pete Ricketts and the state’s VA director to explain why a job listing for registered nurses at a veterans hospital in Bellevue highlights that no COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandated.

Nebraska State Sen. Carol Blood is calling on Gov. Pete Ricketts to explain why a nursing job...
Nebraska State Sen. Carol Blood is calling on Gov. Pete Ricketts to explain why a nursing job listing for the state goes directly against policy outlined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.(Office of Nebraska State Sen. Carol Blood)

“I’m sure you are aware that The Department of Veterans Affairs is now requiring that all medical personnel get vaccinated against COVID-19 now that the highly contagious Delta Variant is quickly moving across the United States and accounting for most new cases of COVID,” Blood said in her letter, which requests a response from the governor’s office by the end of the week.

According to the release from Blood’s office, the legislator also sent the same letter and request to John Hilgers, director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I became aware of this issue after several concerned family members who have loved ones in the facility noted an advertisement to recruit nurses,” Blood said in the release. “I find this recruitment of unvaccinated nurses concerning when you consider The Department of Veterans Affairs is now requiring that all medical personnel get vaccinated against COVID-19 now that the highly contagious Delta Variant is quickly moving across the United States and accounting for most new cases of COVID.”

Last month, the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs announced that COVID-19 vaccinations would be required for all Title 38 VA healthcare personnel working in VA health facilities. That list includes physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries, and chiropractors.

“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. 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,” Secretary Denis McDonough said in the news release.

Blood said in her release that she is concerned the above promise made to veterans “cannot logically be kept if the State of Nebraska is actively trying to recruit unvaccinated health care workers to come and work in their facilities.”

Blood represents the state legislature’s third district, within Sarpy County.

Read State Sen. Carol Blood’s letter

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