Bay Area Council recommends private companies require employee vaccine mandates

A group that represents many of the Bay Area's largest employers is recommending that businesses require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID before coming back to work.

The Bay Area Council says it'll be up to each company to decide what form that requirement takes.

Kaiser Permanente, United Airlines, Google, and Facebook are among the large private companies to put a vaccine requirement on their workforce.

Facebook says, "As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our U.S. campuses to be vaccinated."

It's a step that the Bay Area Council says all employers need to adopt.

"Clearly, we're facing a crisis with the delta variant of COVID-19," says Bay Area Council's CEO Jim Wunderman. He says this surge threatens public safety and the future of the economy.

He's urging every employer to adopt a policy that requires employees to be vaccinated or one that says those who are not vaccinated, will have to work from home.

"I suspect amongst our members and greater business community, there's reluctance from companies who are afraid they're going to lose people," says Wunderman.

In Alameda, people who spoke with KTVU were largely supportive of employers putting in place vaccine requirements.

"This is a public health issue and we'll never get through it unless we are vaccinated," says one woman who declined to give her name.

"Personal choice should be factored in," David Wilen of Alameda says, "I think the only way to really get on top of the whole COVID pandemic is to put some more stricter rules."

"You have a right to work where you want to work, but also, your boss also has the right to make the rules," says Tiffany Allen of Oakland.

"Your choice not to be vaccinated affects those around you," Arnab Mukerjea, Chair of Public Health at Cal State East Bay.

He applauds the Bay Area Council's advisory to big businesses to adopt a vaccine requirement.

"Every individual that has confusion or apprehension about a vaccine is going to have to make a decision about whether or not their individual beliefs interrupt their ability to function in society," says Mukherjea.

"If we need to reach herd immunity, there's also a herd mentality. I think organizations are more comfortable when they know that what they're doing is in line with what others are doing," Wunderman says the Bay Area Council plans to survey its members to see how many will implement a vaccine requirement.