Apple pushes staff to get vaccinated after FDA approvals begin

The company’s web page for employees discusses Covid-19’s delta variant and explains how a vaccine could help prevent its spread. — Reuters

Apple Inc is making its strongest push yet for employees to get vaccinated, urging all US workers to get shots as soon as possible now that the US Food and Drug Administration has started formally approving the injections.

The iPhone maker launched a new internal web page, sent a memo to employees and is hosting internal talks as part of the campaign.

“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.

The company’s web page for employees discusses Covid-19’s delta variant and explains how a vaccine could help prevent its spread. The company also emphasised that the version made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE has received official approval from the FDA.

“This is an important step in the global fight against Covid-19,” the site says.

The company also is pushing vouchers to employees and their dependents to get vaccinated via a partnership with the Walgreens drugstore chain across the US. And it’s offering on-site vaccinations at Apple offices in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas.

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.

Earlier this month, Apple ramped up its optional Covid-19 testing program, requesting employees get tested up to three times per week.

The company will require all corporate staff to return to the office, but it has delayed that plan several times. It initially aimed to have all staff back in June, and then later asked staff to all return by early September. It pushed that back to October and again until January. It has told employees it will give them a one-month warning on a return deadline. – Bloomberg

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