Boeing Suspends COVID Vaccine Requirement After Objection From Some Workers

The aerospace company Boeing announced Friday it's no longer requiring a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for its United States employees after some workers objected.

A minority of workers opposed the vaccine mandate which Boeing implemented in October when a federal executive order made it mandatory for all employees of federal contractors to be vaccinated, the Seattle Times reported.

About 8 percent, or roughly 10,000, U.S. employees could have lost their jobs if the mandate wasn't removed.

Companies including Amtrak and some health care systems have followed suit in suspending their COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

Amtrak announced Tuesday to suspend their mandate allowing the company to run as normal instead of having to cut back on their services, the rail service said.

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said only 500 employees have not been vaccinated against the virus and at least 95.7 percent of employees are fully vaccinated or have an accommodation, NBC News reported.

Some health care systems such as Clevland Clinic, consisting of 19 hospitals, chose to pause the vaccination policy. About 85 percent of employees are vaccinated, said a spokesperson.

"Most employers do not have the luxury of losing 5 percent or 10 percent or whatever percent of their workforce doesn't want to get vaccinated," David Barron, a Houston-based employment attorney told NBC News. "In this environment, it's very tough, especially in jobs like health care or other industries where it's a very tight labor market."

However, other companies are choosing the keep their mandates in place. Southwest Airlines told their employees their vaccination policy is not changing and they need to be vaccinated by January 4, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Boeing 2021, COVID-19
Boeing announced that it will no longer requiring a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for its United States employees. This picture taken on November 15 shows the Boeing stand at the 2021 Dubai Airshow in the Gulf emirate. Giuseppe Cacace/ AFP/Getty Images

In an internal company announcement, Boeing told employees its decision to suspend the mandate "comes after a detailed review of a U.S. District Court ruling earlier this month that halts the enforcement of a federal executive order requiring vaccinations for federal contractors."

Boeing's statement cited "over 92 percent of the company's U.S.-based workforce having registered as being fully vaccinated or having received a religious or medical accommodation."

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal, who is vaccinated, told the newspaper he still wants "to encourage every one of our workforce to get vaccinated."

Pointing to how critical vaccination is for hope of a global air travel recovery, Deal added that "the world, and the airline industry, will recover under vaccination."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
Some companies have removed their vaccine mandates for their employees. A syringe is loaded with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Isabel Zendal Hospital in Madrid, Spain, November 29. Manu Fernandez/AP Photo