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Disney CEO explains the decision to require Covid vaccines for salaried and non-union employees

Employed and non-union Disney employees must have Covid vaccines.

August 16, 2021: -On Thursday, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek defended the media and entertainment giant’s decision to require all of its salaried and non-union employees to be vaccinated against the Covid-19, telling CNBC the action is about “the greater good.”

Chapek was asked whether Disney workers not meeting the end-of-September vaccination deadline would be fired from their jobs.

In February 2020, “We believe what we’d like to do is convince them that it’s in everyone’s best interest to get vaccinated for the greater good and the greater good includes our guests,” said Chapek, taking over as Disney CEO, right as the coronavirus started to wreak havoc on the globe. “It goes back to that contract that we have with our guests, that we’ll operate responsibly,” Chapek added.

Disney announced its vaccination policy on July 30. At the time, the company said it had commenced discussions on vaccine mandates with labor unions that represent additional employees, such as theme park workers.

This week, several other large corporations have recently rolled out more strict vaccine requirements, including McDonald’s. The fast-food chain said Wednesday it delayed its return-to-work date for corporate employees and requiring them to be vaccinated.

It comes against the backdrop of the increasing spread of the highly contagious Covid delta variant, which led to a reversal in months of falling U.S. coronavirus case counts. Outbreaks of the delta variant hit parts of the country with lower vaccination rates particularly hard that health experts said underscored the benefits offered by the Covid shots and their crucial role in keeping the pandemic at bay.

The vaccines have proven to be safe and highly effective at reducing the risk of developing severe Covid. However, there have been some opposition corporate or government mandates. At present, 59% of all Americans currently eligible to receive the Covid vaccine those ages 12 and up — have been fully vaccinated. In comparison, 69% have received at least one shot, according to CDC data.

“We believe that vaccinations are the key to really mitigating the impact of this pandemic, and we here at Disney don’t control what the rest of the world does, but we do have a quarter of a million cast members that we’d love to see vaccinated,” Chapek said. “We think we owe it to them, being in the public eye, but we also owe it to our guests at the same time.”

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