Vaccinations are to be required for most Disney employees, and not for the first time.
Several years ago, the CDC traced a measles outbreak to Disneyland, in Anaheim California. Between December 2014 and February, 131 cases across seven states were linked back to the park. 17 patients required hospitalization. No Patient Zero was ever identified, but 28 of those who developed symptoms were intentionally unvaccinated people, antivaxxers.
At the time, Disneyland took swift action: they put any staff who had worked in the park during the time the infected people had been visiting on leave until they could prove their vaccination status, and announced that measles vaccines were now a condition of employment.
From 2020 into 2021, the COVID-19 virus forced the Disney parks into their first-ever shutdown, keeping Disneyland in California closed for over a year.
In light of that, it’s honestly a little surprising it took the Mouse this long to expand their vaccine requirements. The Disney Company released a statement on July 30, 2021, that all non-union U.S. employees, not just at the theme parks but at studios, retail shops, and any other Disney-owned site, would be required to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
“At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority,” read the statement. “Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists… we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated.”
There is a 60-day grace period, beginning Friday, for those who have yet to be vaccinated, and a similar requirement is being negotiated with the many unions that contract with Disney.
While it is long-established that both private and public institutions can have vaccinations required in the interests of public safety, the current political climate makes this a bold move from one of the largest U.S. employers.
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