Apple to launch program for employees to get Covid-19 shots
Apple Inc. is launching a program to help employees get vaccinated against Covid-19, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The company is working with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. to give workers the shots at Apple offices. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is rolling out a website for staff to sign up for appointments. The company previously told staff that, as a private company, it didn't have access to Covid-19 vaccines for staff members. However, vaccine availability in California has expanded considerably and all residents in the state are now eligible to receive shots.
Apple previously encouraged employees to get vaccines, offering sick leave for days missed when taking the shot and to recover from symptoms. This new voluntary program may encourage more staff members to return to Apple's offices in the coming months. Still, the company has not yet asked employees to return, nor is an imminent return required for signing up for a shot through the program, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters. An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the initiative.
Apple isn't the first major corporation to help employees get shots. Amazon.com Inc. has been vaccinating frontline workers. Other technology giants like Facebook Inc. and Google have been supporting vaccine distribution for the general public, especially in underserved communities. Apple recently added a button in its Maps app to help users find vaccination centers.
Unlike some rivals, Apple hasn't publicly said when employees will be expected to return to offices, but Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has told staff he anticipates a larger number of employees will start returning in June.
“There's no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results,” he told staff last year. Apple has had some mission-critical staff working in the office since the beginning of the pandemic. Some engineers have also been back for months working for a limited number of hours per week.