US giants make vaccination mandatory for staff

Photo: AP

Key US companies led by Google, Netflix and others have found ways to make vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory for their personnel. While the streaming company plans to require that "zone A" personnel, including actors and supporting crew in close contact with them must get the jab, Google announced that only vaccinated employees would be allowed to return to their work stations in the firm's US campuses, BBC reported.

Gooogle's new policy is expected to spread to all world locations and will affect some 144,000 employees.

Netflix has already implemented the measure after new standards were recently agreed between Hollywood unions and studios that would allow companies to implement mandatory vaccination policies for key cast members and crew. Still the actor Sean Penn said he wanted the policy extended for all members of production, not just those classed as "zone A".

He recently noted that he would not return to work on the drama Gaslit, which is backed by the studio NBC Universal, unless all cast and crew receive the jab. Netflix is making the move after the US Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this week that masks will once again have to be worn indoors even by people who have been fully vaccinated. It follows a spike in Covid cases due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that "anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated". How the policy is implemented "will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until vaccines are widely available in your area", he said. In addition, Google will extend the full reopening of its global campuses from 1 September to 18 October due to a spike in cases caused by the Delta variant of coronavirus.

However, any Google employee can apply to work from home permanently if they choose, and transfer offices. Google expects that over time in any given week, 60% of employees will work in the office for a few days each week, one-fifth will be working in new office locations and another fifth will be working from home. JP Morgan said in June that it would instruct staff to log their vaccination status on an internal web portal, with fully-jabbed employees being allowed to discard face masks at work.

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