Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) is supporting employees from local Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) who have expressed concerns over what they call "coercive vaccine mandates." The employees have told Johnson they are fearful of losing their jobs and livelihood since vaccine exemptions are not being granted.
Workers from VAMCs also shared their worries that mandate policies could ultimately exacerbate staff shortages and affect patient care.
The Covid-19 vaccines have proven to be ineffective at preventing infection or spread of Covid. However, some mandates remain in place.
Johnson sent a letter to the Milwaukee VAMC on April 13 demanding clarification on its Covid-19 vaccine policy, asking, specifically, how many exemptions have been granted and whether testing options are being made to employees.
Following the news of Johnson's outreach, he says several more employees from Tomah and Madison VAMCs contacted him to express similar concerns about the vaccine mandates.
Johnson recently drafted a second letter to the directors of the Tomah and Madison VMACs, respectively.
“As I noted in my letter to the Milwaukee VAMC, we now know that individuals who are fully vaccinated can contract and spread Covid-19. That is what the ‘science’ tells us without dispute. Even Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky acknowledges this fact. Given the vaccines’ inability to prevent infection and spread, the Covid-19 vaccine mandates are pointless and destructive. The Milwaukee, Madison and Tomah VAMC employees that reached out to my office fear that the facilities’ coercive vaccine mandate will cause staff shortages and directly effect patient care. I share those legitimate concerns.”Letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) to Wisconsin VMACs
The full text of the letter can be found here and below.
April 22, 2022
John J. Rohrer, Director
William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
2500 Overlook Terrace
Madison, WI 53705
Karen Long MSN,RN, Director
Tomah VA Medical Center
500 East Veterans Street
Tomah, WI 54660
Dear Directors Rohrer and Long:
Last week, I wrote to the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) regarding employees expressing concerns about the facility’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Since I sent that letter, my office has heard from employees from your facilities raising similar concerns about the vaccine mandate.
Specifically, employees at both facilities stated that they will no longer be able to receive medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate. Just like their colleagues in the Milwaukee VAMC, these employees fear that they may lose their jobs unless they adhere to the coercive mandate.
As I noted in my letter to the Milwaukee VAMC, we now know that individuals who are fully vaccinated can contract and spread COVID-19. That is what the “science” tells us without dispute. Even Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky acknowledges this fact. Given the vaccines’ inability to prevent infection and spread, the COVID-19 vaccine mandates are pointless and destructive. The Milwaukee, Madison and Tomah VAMC employees that reached out to my office fear that the facilities’ coercive vaccine mandate will cause staff shortages and directly effect patient care. I share those legitimate concerns.
In order to better understand how the Madison and Tomah VAMCs are addressing employees’ concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, I request you immediately provide my office with a briefing on the matter and the following information:
1. How many COVID-19 vaccine exemptions have been granted for Madison and Tomah VAMC employees?
2. How many requests for exemptions have been denied?
3. What is the purpose of requiring COVID-19 vaccination if it cannot prevent infection and spread?
4. As an alternative to vaccination, will your facilities offer weekly COVID-19 testing to employees or test for natural immunity? If not, please explain why.
Please provide the briefing and this information as soon as possible but no later than May 6, 2022. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
United States Senator
Ms. Victoria P. Brahm, Network Director, VA Great Lakes Health Care System
The Honorable Michael J. Missal, Inspector General Department of Veterans Affairs
The Honorable Denis McDonough, SecretaryDepartment of Veterans Affairs
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