Information Regarding the COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

Published September 30, 2021

Dear Shipbuilders,

Over the past few weeks, we have been reviewing the executive order requiring federal workers and federal contractors like Newport News Shipbuilding to be vaccinated against COVID-19. During this time, we have also heard from many of you on both sides of the vaccine discussion. While we respect all perspectives and appreciate your candid feedback, the mandate is clear that by December 8, 2021, employees of federal contractors must be fully vaccinated. As such, all Newport News Shipbuilding employees, with few exceptions, will need to be fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021, to remain employed. While we are discussing the effects of this mandate with our union partners, it will be a condition of continued employment for our workforce to be fully vaccinated by the above date. That means all vaccinations must be complete by November 24, 2021 (see schedule below).

We don’t want to lose a single team member over this policy. Our Navy and the nation depend on all of us to provide the ships needed to defend our freedoms. However, we must keep our workforce and facility safe, and we will follow all federal laws and regulations. I understand that some shipbuilders are hesitant to get vaccinated. I urge any employee to consult objective and credible sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and your own physician.

Additional details will be provided next week, but here are a few key takeaways from this mandate:

  • Employees must submit paper or digital copy proof of their vaccination cards or other medical records that indicate when they received both shots for the two-shot regimen or one shot for the Johnson & Johnson regimen. Instructions on providing proof of vaccination will be provided next week.
  • This vaccination mandate applies to all of the workforce. Remote workers are not exempt from this order. It is also a requirement for all new NNS hires.
  • There are no exceptions for persons to take COVID tests in lieu of vaccination.
  • Proof of a prior COVID-19 infection or proof of an antibody test are not acceptable substitutions.
  • Medical and religious exemptions can be requested and will be evaluated for accommodation. Additional details on how to submit an exemption will be provided next week. Individuals who fail to meet the legal requirements for an exemption or cannot be accommodated will be notified in time to meet the December 8 deadline for full vaccination.
  • Vaccinations continue to be widely available across our community, and in addition, we are re-establishing the onsite vaccination facility at the old Apprentice School gym starting October 18. Shipbuilders can also be vaccinated at in-yard vaccination events scheduled on Wednesdays throughout the months of October and November.

While all aspects of COVID continue to be a strain and cause stress, it is imperative that we move beyond this and ensure continued viability of our 135-year old business. We are critical to our nation and to our Hampton Roads community, and we will get through this and continue our important mission.

Thank you all for everything you do.

Jennifer Boykin
Newport News Shipbuilding