More companies requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19

FDA gave full approval to Pfizer vaccine last week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Companies across the U.S. are requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The move from recommending the vaccine to requiring it comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus has sent cases, deaths and hospitalizations soaring.

COVID-19 shots have been available to the public under emergency use authorization since December 2020. Then the Food and Drug Administration last week gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Shortly after that move, Walt Disney World reached a deal with its unions to require all workers at its theme park in Orlando to be vaccinated. And Drugstore chain CVS said pharmacists, nurses and other workers who have contact with patients will have to be inoculated.

A list compiled by NBC News shows Amtrak, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and United Airlines are among companies that have announced vaccine requirements. So are Google and Microsoft, both of which made their announcements before the Pfizer shot got full FDA approval.

Some companies that are requiring shots have said employees who don’t get vaccinated must obtain a note from a doctor explaining why they can’t get the shot and then undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. And some companies have asked vaccinated employees to show their vaccination card to a boss or the head of human resources.

Reaction to the latest COVID-19 requirements in some workplaces is mixed.

“If you don’t want it, don’t do it,” said Jacksonville resident Larry McGee.

“I’m all for it. It’s kind of like wearing seat belts. It’s something you should be required to do. It’s affecting not just yourself but also your co-workers,” Jacksonville resident Leigh Fogle said. “If you’re a private business owner, as I am, I would make my employees be vaccinated.”

“I think, if you work in the medical field, it makes perfect sense,” Jacksonville resident Jessica Harding said.

Across the U.S., hospitals systems are requiring employees to get the shot. In Jacksonville, Baptist Health will require more than 12,500 employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, and Ascension will require COVID-19 vaccinations for its associates.

Earlier this summer, President Joe Biden announced that federal workers will have to get vaccinated or else face weekly testing and other measures.

On Aug. 18, Biden announced that his administration will require that nursing home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.

And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo Wednesday that military troops must immediately begin to get the vaccine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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