Intel, the largest private employer in Oregon, told its workers on Nov. 11 that they must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022, or have received a religious or medical exemption.
An email reviewed by WW shows the company this week informed many of its 21,000 Portland-area employees of the impending vaccination deadline.
The email says Intel is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations because the U.S government has a vaccine mandate that includes its contractors, of which Intel is one.
Intel spokeswoman Chelsea Hughes confirmed Thursday evening to WW that its decision is based on the new U.S vaccine requirements for its federal contractors. “As it has done throughout the pandemic, Intel will continue to comply with all government requirements in the countries in which it operates,” Hughes said.
But Intel might be trying to buy some more time: “Given the complexity and size of our workforce, we are working with the government to extend the deadline to later in the first quarter of 2022,” the company told its employees.
Intel added: “Starting next week, we will share new vaccine-related incentives and sweepstakes and several new educational offerings. We will also continue the ‘thank you’ payment for employees who complete their vaccinations before Dec. 31, 2021.” (In August, Intel began offering its employees up to $350 for getting vaccinated.)
The vaccine mandate is broad and also applies to contractors: “This guidance applies to all U.S Intel workers, regardless of if they are working on-site or at home,” the email said. “It also applies to all employees traveling for work to the U.S. It applies regardless of the amount of time you are working at an Intel campus.”