Dallas-based Texas Instruments will require all of its U.S. employees and contractors to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 29 or face losing their jobs, according to an internal company email obtained by D Magazine.
“In light of the accelerating spread of new variants, we are requiring our U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” a company spokesperson confirmed Monday. “We have no greater responsibility to our employees than to provide a safe work environment. Now more than ever, vaccination remains the number one defense against the spread of COVID-19 and is the best way to protect our employees and our community.”
Texas Instruments joins a growing number of employers instituting or considering vaccine mandates as the delta variant of the virus continues to upend anything like a full return to the pre-pandemic “normal.”
Other large area employers including Southwest Airlines and Toyota said earlier this month they are—for now, at least—sticking with encouragement. Of the 77 companies that responded to a recent Dallas Regional Chamber survey, just 8 percent said they would require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office. (The chamber is itself behind a massive campaign to get people vaccinated.)
Many healthcare providers, including Baylor Scott & White Health and Texas Health Resources, already require workers to be vaccinated. AT&T is making management get the jab by Oct. 11.
But Texas Instruments is perhaps the most notable case so far of a major North Texas employer instituting a vaccine mandate for all of its U.S. employees.
The semiconductor giant says it has more than 30,000 employees around the world, including 12,000 in the Americas. Although the mandate only applies to employees and contractors in the U.S., TI plans to expand it to other countries “when and where we are able, based on local considerations, regulations and broad vaccine availability,” according to the email sent to employees last week.
Workers can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Otherwise, they will be fired if they don’t show proof of full vaccination by Oct. 29, according to the internal company email.
More organizations may be rolling out vaccine mandates of their own in the days ahead. On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“For businesses and universities that have been thinking about putting vaccine requirements in place in order to create safer spaces for people to work and learn, I think that this move from the FDA, when it comes, will actually help them to move forward with those kinds of plans,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a television interview over the weekend.