Walmart has officially notified their employees that all Walmart U.S. associates are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by October 4, 2021. If they do not get the vaccine by October 4th, they will go one month without pay and they have until November 1, 2021, to get the vaccine or they will be terminated. On June 2, 2021, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was quoted by Forbes in response to being asked if Walmart would ever mandate the vaccine. McMillon’s response was, “There’s no circumstance where that would require getting a COVID-19 vaccine. It would have to be some level of government. We explain the benefits, and it has a financial incentive. We’ll continue encouraging, but don’t anticipate doing more than that.”
In the letter that Walmart sent out to their employees today, they blame the Delta variant for causing an increase in infection rates as the reason they are now going back on their word and requiring employees to get the vaccine. This requirement for employment includes all market, regional and divisional associates who work in multiple facilities and all campus office associates.
When asked why Walmart was requiring the vaccine for only campus jobs, not all store employees, their response was, “The responsible course of action is to require the vaccinations of our campus associates, setting a leadership example. Walmart believes it is critical that we require the vaccinations to protect our associates, customers, and community members as we work together to end the pandemic.”