BAR HARBOR — Two days before the Supreme Court hears arguments on the legality of a federal vaccine-or-testing requirement for companies with 100 or more employees, The Jackson Laboratory announced that all U.S.-based employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Feb. 21.
“Given the fast spread of the Omicron variant and the excellent safety profile of available vaccines to help protect the transmission and severity of COVID, JAX is implementing a universal vaccination and booster requirement as a condition of employment to help protect its workplace and stay ahead of the pandemic,” reads a Jan. 4 press release.
It also states that exceptions will be made “for a certified medical reason or a sincerely held religious belief.”
Currently, employees are offered a testing option if they choose to not receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines available.
The new requirement covers remote and in-person Jackson Laboratory employees and on-site affiliates and students, and booster shots are needed to be considered fully vaccinated. Employees, on-site affiliates and students must provide documentation verifying their vaccination status.
The lab is the largest employer located in Hancock County. It employs 1,796 people in Bar Harbor and 136 in Ellsworth. That includes on-campus, remote and affiliate employees. The vaccination rate in Bar Harbor is over 84 percent. In Ellsworth, it is about 73.9 percent, according to the lab.