Newport News Shipbuilding to receive additional COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccine

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.(WAVY) – Newport News Shipbuilding will vaccinate at least an additional 300 employees next week after receiving more COVID-19 vaccine.

Cindi Wolfe, who is a director of human resources and leads the COVID Crisis Action Team for company, says they received 300 Moderna shots and are expecting more next week.

“We are anticipating to receive more next week and that allows us to expand to employees who are 60 and over and employees who have underlying medical conditions because again our number one goal is to keep employees safe and if we get that vaccine, that allows us to do that,” she said.

The COVID-19 Crisis Action Group (CAG) sent out a letter to employees Thursday saying:

“While our goal is to vaccinate everyone, we have established scheduling criteria rooted in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that places first responders and essential personnel who maintain the yard during emergencies and perform mission-critical work on the schedule first.”

Wolfe says they started vaccinating employees who are first responders or essential personal who keep up the shipyard during emergencies and mission critical work on February 4.

Those employees received their second dose this weekend.

The group will be followed by employees age 60 and over, and shipbuilders who have any of the following underlying medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Hypertension
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Diabetes

The shipyard is providing shuttles to the vaccination site at the old apprentice school gym. Wolfe says they are working with a third party, QuadMed, who is administering the vaccine and will provide appointments Monday through Friday.

However, if there is more demand, Wolfe says days can change to Monday through Saturday.

“Our whole goal is to not waste the vaccine and get our employees through the process as quick as possible,” she said.

Since February, the shipyard has vaccinated 338 people, according to Wolfe, and worked with local, state, and federal governments to get the vaccines to not only help keep employees safe but the community.

“The fact we’re able to vaccine our workforce keep our shipbuilders safe. There’s 25,000 employees. If we’re able to get the vaccines, get those employees vaccinated, that just helps our 757 community and again allows us to do what we need to do and that’s build ships for the USA,” Wolfe said.

To be included in the initial list, shipbuilders with underlying health conditions are asked to email or call the NNS COVID Hotline at 1-844-243-8749, option 6. NNS officials say they reserve the right to ask for medical documentation to verify eligibility.

Additionally, shipbuilders will be scheduled for their vaccination via email. Appointments for shipbuilders who do not have company email will be sent to their direct supervisor.

If shipbuilders who do not wish to be vaccinated receive an appointment, they are asked to decline the appointment promptly so another shipbuilder can be scheduled.

NNS says they will provide shuttle service to and from vaccination appointments. Employees can also drive to their appointment.

“Given the high demand for the vaccine, we highly recommend you get it from another provider if you have the opportunity. Your patience and flexibility is appreciated. We may need to revise our distribution strategy as more vaccine becomes available, and we will continue to update you with changes,” the COVID-19 Crisis Action Group wrote.

Read the full letter here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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