NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Employees at Newport News Shipbuilding will have a couple more months to get vaccinated.
News 3 obtained a message Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters sent to shipyard employees on Thursday saying the federal government pushed the vaccination deadline for federal contractors from Dec. 8, 2021, to Jan. 4, 2022.
This applies to all HII employees, including those in the Ingalls Shipbuilding, Newport News Shipbuilding and Technical Solutions divisions.
In the message, Petters says roughly 75% of HII employees have already been fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19.
Oct. 27 marked the deadline for shipyard employees to receive the Moderna vaccine in order to be fully vaccinated by the original deadline of Dec. 8. We spoke with an employee who encouraged his colleagues to get vaccinated if they hadn't already done so.
Others, however, are standing their ground. On October 15,workers rallied to protest the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, saying they're willing to lose their jobs.
Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding, saidwhile everyone has a personal choice to make, she does not want to lose shipbuilders over this mandate.
Petters' full memo can be read below:
Dear HII employees:
Today the federal government pushed out the vaccination deadline for federal contractors from Dec. 8 to Jan. 4.
If you’re among the roughly 75% of HII employees who are already fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19, thank you. As vaccinations have gone up, case rates have dropped, and the worst outcomes of infection have dropped dramatically. You are safer and so are your families, teams and communities. It is the right thing to do.
If you have not received a medical or religious exemption and are not yet vaccinated, please do not delay.
Stay tuned for information from your division about opportunities in your area to get vaccinated, and join your colleagues in protecting the health and safety of yourselves and each other.