The Department of Health and Human Services is the latest government agency to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all its employees. The vaccine requirement comes Thursday as cases of the Delta variant continue to rise.

The vaccine mandate will apply to the agency’s more than 25,000 employees.

“Our number one goal is the health and safety of the American public, including our federal workforce, and vaccines are the best tool we have to protect people from COVID-19, prevent the spread of the Delta variant, and save lives,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement from HHS.

Becerra made the announcement that the mandate will apply to all agencies overlooked by the Health Services department which include the Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Any religious or medical exceptions will still be exempt. This will apply to influenza and other disease vaccines, as well.

The mandate follows the Pentagon's decision for all service members to become vaccinated by the middle of September.

HHS did not indicate if employees could regularly be tested for coronavirus rather than become vaccinated.