Apple is making its strongest push ever for its getting the coronavirus shots to all its employees, but will not mandate COVID-19 vaccination. In a recent employee memo, Cupertino asks everyone who can get the vaccine to do so as soon as possible. The iPhone maker is pulling out all the stops short of mandating vaccinations to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
An Internal Web Page, a Memo, and Internal Talks
The memo was sent to staff on August 26, asking all of its internal employees who have “access to the vaccine and [are] able to get vaccinated to do as soon as you can”. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health efforts, and Kristina Raspe, vice president in charge of real estate, are also hosting talks encouraging employees to get the shot.
The internal website discusses the COVID-19 delta variant and explains how the vaccine could help prevent it from spreading further. Apple also emphasizes that the FDA has officially approved the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. Still, Cupertino is pledging not to mandate COVID-19 vaccination.
Why Apple Won’t Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines and What the Company Is Doing Instead
Bloomberg points out that Apple is also offering vaccine vouchers to employees and their dependents. These vouchers are part of a partnership with the Walgreens drugstore chain across the US. On top of that, Apple offices in Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas offer on-site vaccinations.
Tech companies including Google and Facebook are requiring their employees to get vaccinated. So far, Apple is not jumping on that bandwagon. Internally, Cupertino has cited employee privacy as its reason for not mandating the vaccine. The presence of Apple corporate offices throughout the United States, including states that prohibit such mandates, could also make a mandatory vaccination policy difficult for the company politically.
Cupertino has also expanded its optional COVID-19 testing program. Apple asks its employees to take a COVID-19 test up to three times each week. Eventually, Apple will require its corporate staff to return to the office, but has already delayed that plan several times. Right now, the back-to-the-office policy is on hold until at least January 2022.