Apple has reportedly told its store and corporate employees to get the COVID-19 booster shot or face frequent tests for the virus.
“Due to waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of highly transmissible variants such as Omicron, a booster shot is now part of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination to protect against severe disease,” Apple said in a staff memo seen by The Verge.
It added that once a store worker of corporate employee is eligible to receive a booster shot, they will have four weeks to do so. If for any reason they are unable or unwilling to get the booster, then from February 15 a COVID-19 test will be required prior to entering the workplace.
According to information posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who had the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster shot five months after their second shot, while those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot can receive the booster two months after they were vaccinated.
Apple also said in its memo that anyone yet to receive any COVID-19 vaccine will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test before entering the workplace. This measure starts on January 24, though the memo was reportedly unclear about whether this is the case for both corporate and retail workers.
Like other companies, Apple has been constantly adjusting its work practices throughout the pandemic, introducing a work-from-home policy for office staff and adjusting operating hours for its global network of retail stores. In the early days of the pandemic in 2020 when cases were climbing rapidly in the U.S. and beyond, Apple shuttered all of its stores for several months before gradually reopening them again. When it did so, the company introduced new measures for staff and shoppers such as temperature checks and a request for everyone to wear a face mask.
At the current time, most of Apple’s corporate staff are still working from home, with its new rules applying to the few workers who are currently showing up to its offices.
Digital Trends has reached out to Apple for confirmation on its latest vaccination policy and we will update this article when we hear back.