AstraZeneca will require its U.S. employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson issued the following statement following media reports of the decision:
At AstraZeneca, we are driven by science and every day we push the boundaries to deliver life-changing medicines. To safeguard the health and wellbeing of our employees and communities, we must follow the science and as part of our return to workplace approach, we will require all US-based AstraZeneca and Alexion employees who are onsite or visiting our customers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. We will provide accommodations for those unable to be vaccinated due to medical, religious or other restrictions. We continue to work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our employees and have in place at our sites a number of safety measures and guidelines, including providing access to personal protective equipment and Covid-19 testing.
AstraZeneca employs about 1,500 in Delaware. The UK company has administrative/headquarters operations near Wilmington and a logistics and manufacturing site near Newark.
AstraZeneca joins a growing list of large employers in Delaware mandating vaccinations.
That roster includes the state’s largest private employer, Wilmington-based ChristianaCare, earlier the scene of anti-vaccination protests from some employees and others opposed to mandates. The Nemours and Trinity (Saint Francis) health care systems also announced mandates.
Delaware’s largest employer, state government, will require employees to show proof of vaccination or undergo regular Covid-19 testing under an order from the governor.
AstraZeneca employees will not receive vaccinations with the company’s vaccine, which has not yet been approved in the U.S.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is less expensive than the Moderna and Pfizer products that are approved in the U.S. The approved Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine comes closer to the cost of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
AstraZeneca, which developed the vaccine with Oxford University, agreed to produce doses at no profit. However, AstraZeneca did receive more than $1 billion in support from the U.S. government’s vaccine program.
AstraZeneca vaccine has been the subject of controversies over its human trials. Also, a Baltimore plant had doses that were accidentally mixed with Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
There have also been concerns over blood clots, although such instances are rare.
AstraZeneca has shipped more than 1 billion vaccine doses and still has plans to seek approval in the United States.
The US has ample supplies of other vaccines, even with the likelihood that Americans will receive booster shots this year.
AstraZeneca last week announced promising results for an antibody Covid-19 treatment. The treatment promises to provide protection from the virus for those who cannot tolerate vaccines.