Disney to stop mandatory vaccinations policy for workers

After Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a ban on privately-funded vaccination clinics, Disney World announced Tuesday that it would postpone a policy requiring all workers to be vaccinated. Disney has one of the largest…

Disney to stop mandatory vaccinations policy for workers

After Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a ban on privately-funded vaccination clinics, Disney World announced Tuesday that it would postpone a policy requiring all workers to be vaccinated.

Disney has one of the largest on-site vaccination requirements in the world, and some states and cities restrict or require business workers to be vaccinated in order to work there.

On October 1, Disney took the step against an upcoming state law requiring every Florida business with more than 25 employees to offer vaccinations. The policy for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and ESPN Wide World of Sports (a part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park) required all employees to be vaccinated for hepatitis A and enterovirus illnesses by Oct. 1.

The legislation, which was signed by Scott at a news conference Monday, has left Disney with an uncertain future, the company’s spokeswoman said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Given the recently signed legislation in Florida, Disney will defer entering into a contract with any organization offering private-public vaccination clinics at our parks for the time being,” the statement said.

The Walt Disney Company employs some 170,000 workers worldwide, many of whom do not require vaccinations because of a long-standing exemption for religious reasons or medical reasons.

Disney does have a limited medical exemption which allows workers to waive their need for vaccinations for conditions including tuberculosis, tetanus, hepatitis A, and cholera.

Other states, including California, Illinois, New York, Washington, and Washington, D.C., require vaccinations for workers who work in food service or attractions.

But the Florida legislative session is set to end on Oct. 31, and state Rep. Jason Brodeur, the sponsor of the bill, said it is unlikely to get a vote before then.

The timing is concerning for Disney, Brodeur said.

“We want to be prepared for whenever and wherever some of this legislation gets decided,” he said.

Brodeur said the legislation, which defines requiring vaccination as an unlawful occupational practice, would also not help Disneyland in California.

Disneyland, which is the largest theme park in the world, was forced to shutdown earlier this year after a measles outbreak, in which more than 100 people in 17 states were infected. Disneyland is currently under quarantine, and the park is working with local governments and health authorities to ensure a safe environment.

As the measles outbreak continues in the United States, Disney isn’t the only organization that has had to take action to protect workers from the virus.

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