Biden vaccine mandate moves closer to approval, vaccination rates increase at some local employers

COVID-19 Vaccine

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for the private sector is one step closer to reality after OHSA, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, submitted the initial text of the emergency vaccine mandate to the White House.

Last month, the president announced businesses with more than 100 employees would be required to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or have employees get tested weekly. All federal contractors were included in the mandate.

The president tasked OSHA to enforce the mandates.

When the mandate first came down, there was a lot of skepticism about the legality and logistics of enforcement.

Nevertheless, local employers prepared and began reviewing and implementing vaccine requirements for employees.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard ordered all civilian personnel to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22. Per this deadline, any employee receiving the Moderna vaccine needed to receive their first shot by Oct. 11. Pfizer recipients need their first shot by Oct. 18 to meet the deadline. Johnson & Johnson recipients have a little more time, needing the single-dose shot by Nov. 8.

Officials with Newport News Shipbuilding, one of the region’s largest private employers, reported 60% of their employees are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, Oct. 13.

The shipyard says all of their employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8 to be in compliance with the rules for federal contractors.

Newport News Shipbuilding employees will need to get the first dose of Moderna by Oct. 27. Pfizer recipients will need to get the first shot by Nov. 3. Those getting the single-dose J&J vaccine will need to do so by Nov. 24.

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