Boeing suspends vaccine mandate for US staff – business insurance

(Reuters) – Boeing Co. has suspended its compulsory coronavirus vaccination for U.S.-based employees, the U.S. aircraft maker said Friday, ending weeks of uncertainty as thousands of workers filed for exemptions and challenges to a federal mandate held in court.

In an internal announcement, Boeing said its decision came after a review of a U.S. District Court ruling earlier this month that halted enforcement of President Joe Biden's vaccine requirements for federal contractors.

Some large health chains and companies like General Electric, Spirit AeroSystems, and Amtrak have also suspended vaccination regulations for workers.

In recent weeks, the number of Boeing employees seeking a vaccine exemption for religious or medical reasons had topped 11,000 – or nearly 9% of the U.S. workforce – many times higher than executives originally estimated, Reuters reported first time.

The fact that the vast majority of applications were on religious grounds put one of America's largest employers at the center of a debate over the ethics of studying an employee's religious beliefs.

Managers also looked for a strategy that would protect the safety of employees but avoid the brain drain of engineers and factory workers.

Boeing's mandatory vaccination has resulted in more than 92% of U.S. residents registering as fully vaccinated or receiving religious or medical precaution, according to Friday's memo.

"Boeing's success in compulsory vaccination to date enables the company to comply with federal regulation should it be reinstated in the future," it added.

A Boeing spokesman confirmed the decision, adding that the company is "committed to maintaining a safe work environment for our employees and promoting the health and safety of our worldwide workforce."

Boeing has suspended its vaccination requirement in line with the court's ruling banning enforcement of the executive order for federal and several state contractors, the spokesman added.

Last month the White House moved its deadline to January 4 for vaccination or regular testing of employees at federal contractors if they received exemptions.

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