Now that the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech has received official approval from the FDA in the US, Apple is ramping up its efforts to encourage employees to get vaccinated. Apple is still, however, stopping short of mandating vaccines, something that other tech companies like Google and Facebook have already done.
As reported today by Bloomberg, Apple has sent a new memo to employees asking all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The company has also launched a new internal web page and is “hosting internal talks” on the matter.
“Apple is asking everyone who has access to the vaccine and is able to get vaccinated to do so as soon as you can,” the company said in the memo, which was sent to staff Thursday evening. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health efforts, and Kristina Raspe, vice president in charge of real estate, are also hosting talks to encourage employees to get the shots.
On the webpage encouraging vaccines, Apple focuses on the continued spread of the Delta variant as well as the FDA approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot. Apple is teaming up with Walgreens in the US to offer “vouchers to employees and their dependents to get vaccinated,” and offering onsite vaccinations at offices in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas.
As for why Apple is stopping short of mandating COVID-19 vaccinations, Bloomberg speculates:
While this campaign marks the biggest push yet to get staff vaccinated, Apple is still not requiring employees to do so — unlike companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. Internally, Apple has cited employees’ privacy as its reason. The company also has offices in both red and blue states, and mandating vaccines could be difficult in some regions for political reasons. An Apple spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Due to the continued spread of the Delta variant, Apple earlier this month delayed its return to in-person work, saying that it does not expect to resume regular activities until early 2022.
- Apple relying on frequent COVID testing for employees, no vaccine requirement yet
- Apple reportedly asking employees for their vaccination status in some locations
- Tim Cook says Apple considering whether requiring employee vaccinations is ‘the right answer’
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