Meta Removes COVID-19 Booster Shot Requirement for American Workers

Facebook-owner Meta Platform will stop requiring its employees to get COVID-19 booster shots in order to enter offices in the United States, a spokesperson for the company said on Friday.

“We updated our requirements in early March to align with CDC guidance, and now COVID-19 boosters are no longer required for entry, though strongly recommended,” said Tracy Clayton, a spokesperson for the social media company, Reuters reported.

Clayton further noted that the primary COVID-19 vaccination requirement, either Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot or a double-dose shot, remains in place.

Meta previously required every employee who is returning to the office to present proof of their booster shots while the company monitored the Omicron variant situation.

The Meta spokesperson did not provide an explanation for the change, though vaccine mandates have sparked employee shortages across various industries and many companies are struggling to meet consumer demand. Meta was one of the first major U.S. companies that previously announced all returning employees have to receive at least one booster shot.

The social media company has flip-flopped on its return to office dates and requirements over the past two years with a series of inconsistent messages.

In December 2020, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that employees do not need a vaccine and there were plans to reopen offices in July, which was then changed to May, and then a host of new regulations were passed in June.

Meanwhile, Alphabet Inc’s Google is preparing for employees to return to its Silicon Valley, California, workplaces from April 4, with the company expecting most employees to be in offices about three days a week.

Employees who are not prepared to return on April 4 can also seek a remote-work extension, the tech company said.

The Bay Area is one of the U.S. locations where Google will adopt the hybrid model that combines office and remote work. The tech giant currently employs around 45,000 in the region.

Employees returning to offices must be fully vaccinated or should present an exemption approval. In the Bay Area, fully vaccinated employees need not wear masks, unlike unvaccinated individuals, who would also be required to test regularly. Those who are not vaccinated and do not have an exemption will be given a chance to apply for permanent remote work.

Naveen Athrappully contributed to this report.