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Microsoft will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees, vendors, and visitors in U.S. offices

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will require employees, vendors, and visitors to have proof of vaccination to enter the company's offices in the U.S.
  • The measure takes effect in September 2021.
  • Microsoft delayed the full reopening of its U.S. offices until at least October 4, 2021.

Microsoft will require all employees, vendors, and guests entering its buildings in the United States to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting in September 2021. The company also delayed the full reopening of its offices until at least October 4, 2021. The previous target date to reopen its offices was September 7, 2021.

There are exemptions to the vaccination requirement, including medical conditions and protected reasons such as religion. Microsoft told The Verge that any staff members that are caregivers to immunosuppressed people or that have children too young to be vaccinated will be allowed to work from home until January.

The following statement from Microsoft was shared with The Verge:

As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we continue to closely track new developments and adapt our plans as this situation evolves, keeping employee health and safety top of mind. Based on our continued consultation with health and data experts, our earliest date for the full opening of our U.S. worksites will be no earlier than October 4, 2021. Starting in September, we'll also require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors, and any guests entering Microsoft buildings in the U.S., and will have an accommodation process in place for employees. We continue to review the situation on a local basis in each region/country/state where we work and will adjust dates and policies as needed.

Other large companies have made similar moves, including Tyson, Google, Disney, Walmart, and Facebook, though measures vary between companies.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

68 Comments
  • if only Bill's experimental gene therapy actually prevented the spread of the infection...
  • Vaccination also does the job very well, is current technology and widely available, and apparently is much easier and safer than gene therapy. But of course, you're not making a point about gene therapy, are you?
  • The FDA currently lists the 2 mRNA vaccines as "gene therapy" and not as "vaccines".
  • Source please. An official one. Because this is a load of BS.
    Also, I find it funny how you people say "CAN'T TRUST THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY" and your reason is "BECAUSE ANOTHER GOBERNMENT AGENCY SAID SO"
  • Moderna's own annual report (scroll down to page 107 - it should say '107' in the bottom of the page as their PDF doesn't let you type it in, and read the bottom paragraph): "Currently, mRNA is considered a gene therapy product by the FDA. Unlike certain gene therapies that irreversibly alter cell DNA and could act as a source of side effects, mRNA-based medicines are designed to not irreversibly change cell DNA; however, side effects observed in gene therapy could negatively impact the perception of mRNA medicines despite the differences in mechanism. In addition, because no product in which mRNA is the primary active ingredient has been approved outside the context of authorization for emergency use, the regulatory pathway for approval is uncertain. The number and design of the clinical trials and preclinical studies required for the approval of these types of medicines have not been established, may be different from those required for gene therapy products, or may require safety testing like gene therapy products." https://investors.modernatx.com/static-files/5105e98c-e3e7-4c09-820b-c03... Also the FDA Form 20-F submission from BioTech (the producer of mRNA) filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Read under "Risks Related to our Business" section:
    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1776985/000156459020014536/bntx-...
  • Okay, so this is a "gene therapy product" in the same way that American sliced cheese is a "milk product".
    It isn't a gene therapy if your definition of it means "something that modifies DNA"
  • It says, "doesn't irreversibly change DNA", NOT that it doesn't change DNA. If it matters to you I did get both shots of moderna.
  • Pedo Bill gates pushed that junk vaccine while pushing depopulationat the same time. I expect anyone that got the "vaccine" to be dead within 1 to 2 years tops
  • Ever since around 2-3 weeks after my 2nd dose the microchip in the vaccine has helped with cell reception and has upped my fps by about 20. Also it has changed my dna enough that I can now have conversations with my dog, he's actually very funny.
  • The evidence is extremely clear: the people getting really sick, going to the hospital and dying of Covid are unvaccinated. Why would any company want to expose themselves or their employees to that kind of risk? Your choice to get vaccinated or not doesn't just affect you, it affects everyone around you. That's why militaries, medical facilities, college campuses and immigration authorities have routinely mandated vaccinations (measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, and now Covid) for decades. Trillion-dollar companies are no different.
  • And for people who already had covid and have that immunity? They don't get to pass?
  • What about those that got it and had no immune response? Or the people that never got a positive test. Where is the proof that they aren't lying? At the same time some don't have any to the vaccines either.
  • No, they don't.
  • No they don't. There's already evidence that reinfection is possible, especially with the Delta variant.
  • Not to mention, if it's only those choosing to not get the vaccine who are dying, why do people with the vaccine care?
  • Exactly, risk/reward. Studies are showing that prior infection might offer better protection. And other studies are showing that vaccinated are still spreading the virus. Doctors just look at statistics and ignore the individual at least that is what a doctor friend told me.
  • Because one of the vaxholes will be responsible for a new variant that is even worse than Delta, gets around the current vaccines and we will be back to square one.
  • Because unless we eliminate covid rapidly (which requires most to get vaccinated), it'll keep going through mutations.
  • It's not going to happen. Did you know there are already 11 variants? https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/vaccines/q-n-a/how-many-covid-19-variants-li... The vaccine isn't going to make a difference. The only way is for people to isolate themselves and have the immune system fight it off (vaccine or no vaccine). And isolate before it is even an issue.
  • Because vaccinated people also have a risk of getting covid and if they do get it hospitals would already be packed with unvaccinated people...
  • Majority of people that do get covid, don't get sick enough to warrant a hospital visit.
  • Those that haven't had covid yet are getting more sick. Those that are vaccinated are still spreading the virus, just not getting as sick from it. I've had covid twice, the first time (early last year) wasn't that bad, fever, sore throat and a cough that lasted two weeks. The second time was just tired, sore throat and a cough. Was better in 5 days. My dad had vaccine. The first night he didn't feel well and two days later was in the ER. They were not sure he was going to make it. Side effect of vaccine. A co-worker, after second shot, was vomiting for a week and is a type 1 diabetic and was pumping himself full of insulin trying to bring sugars down. There are risks to everything, and to force people to take a drug that has had only limited testing is wrong.
  • @H Seldon the vaccine provides better protections against the severe symptoms of Covid-19 and that is not limited to organ failure. It's widely known that the vaccine doesn't stop the spread of virus, it does however reduces the reproduction number. It's not new, epidemiologists and immunologists have been saying this for over a year. Additionally, the longer people do not get vaccinated the stronger the doses will have to be made to safeguard against more lethal strains. Thus triggering more stronger reactions. So, yeah the unvaccinated and especially anti-vaxxers are making everything worse everywhere for everyone. Wearing masks again will be the least of the worries for everyone.
  • @TechFreak1
    Regarding viral load, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210803/Unvaccinated-and-vaccinated-h... People are so confused about vaccines. Vaccines are not some thing that floats through the body attacking a virus. The immune system is still doing all the work. Vaccines use weakened or a dead virus (or a protein generated by slipping mRNA into a cell). By themselves the immune system doesn't do much. They then use an adjuvant to prod the immune system to respond. The virus is going to mutate no matter what, even if 100% of people were vaccinated or recovered. It's what those viruses do. Vaccines are not shields, you still get infected and the immune system fights it off. It's not different than how our bodies react to the common cold viruses. Question for you? How do you feel about the people that have died from the vaccine? I know it's not a lot, but do you think it's acceptable to have some people die from the vaccine? What about the younger kids who most likely would have survived Covid? https://nypost.com/2021/07/05/michigan-boy-dies-in-his-sleep-three-days-... Vaccine choice is about risk assessment. If you are old, there is a higher risk of death from the virus, if you are younger not so much. Other counties accept those that have recovered, why doesn't the US? A lot of money is being made from the vaccines. Watch TV, almost every commercial is trying to sell some type of drug. I wish the vaccines were 100% safe with no side effects. But they aren't, and they don't stop the virus (they just prep the immune system), so everyone should be able to make the choice that is best for them.
  • Almost nobody has died from the vaccine. Any such argument must be placed against the nearly 700k who have died in the USA from the virus and millions around the world. It's the classic trolly problem, but even more extreme since the number the vaccine has killed is almost immeasurable comparably. You also do not understand viral mutation. Lack of hosts that permit long term reproduction means lack of mutation.
  • Ok, so you are fine with a few people dying if that might mean a much larger group possibly will not. If the viruses can reproduce then there is a chance for mutation. Studies are showing viral load with the new variants is the same between vaccinated and unvaccinated. Doesn't that mean long term reproduction? My family, friends and coworkers have had Covid and didn't require going to the hospital. I've had people tell me they didn't even know they had covid but tested positive for antibodies. My dad spent a week in the ER a day after getting vaccinated and a coworker was vomitting for a week (plus fever, body aches) the night after his second shot. My point is that nothing is 100% effective nor 100% safe. We don't know any of the long term consequences of the vaccine (there may not be any). We don't know who might have a negative reaction. I've had reactions to an injection and now I can't eat certain foods (get red streaks, itch). Do I want to take a chance something worse might happen? I'm a chemical engineer, give me enough info and I think I can make my own choice.
  • Would be nice if they included the 30M+ of us that have already had Covid and recovered.
  • Would be nice if you realized immunity from a prior infection isn't that long lasting and a vaccination would provide additional protection.
  • Would be nice if you knew a damn thing about the immune system. Your body actually saves those cells for the long run.
  • Lol. And what's your source, pray tell? Or where did you study immunology that told you this "damn thing" about the immune system? All studies have shown that antibodies from a prior covid infection don't last longer than 3 months for most. As for T cell memory, it's different for each pathogen and depends on several factors including age, duration of infection, and more. This article highlights key findings of what we do know about Covid as it relates to T cell memory.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749639/
  • Vaccines just pre-train the immune system. And right now mRNA vaccines are pre-training it to identify the spike protein. The immune system is still doing the work. So if you have had Covid then the immune system has gone through the real thing. Plus, antibodies don't last for vaccines either. This is from July 2020, https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2020/07/28/immune-t-cells-may-offer-lastin.... And another from this Jan, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749639/ March 2021, "In their study of recovered COVID-19 patients, the researchers determined that SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T-cell responses remained largely intact and could recognize virtually all mutations in the variants studied."
    https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/t-cells-recognize-recent-s... And what happens when this takes place, https://www.nytimespost.com/almost-certain-vaccine-resistant-covid-mutat... If you want to accept the risk of getting the vaccine vs the real thing, that is your choice. My family has experience allergic reactions to prior vaccines/injections. And the throat closing up isn't the only reaction. Having to eliminate foods you used to be able eat but can't now because they cause stomach aches, rashes and itching sucks. And then worrying that another vaccine could push the immune system over the edge is something you should have a choice over. Nothing is black or white...
  • Vaccines don't kill people. Diseases do. It's not black or white, and there's exceptions. But at this time and age, and leaving aside very specific issues for a very few individuals, people should have enough sense to know that any vaccine is always better than contracting the disease.
  • Vaccines have killed people (https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/13-year-old-dies-in-sleep-after...) and diseases have killed people. But humans wouldn't exist if we didn't survive most diseases. I'm not telling you not to get a vaccine. It's your choice. I've experience covid and it wasn't that bad. My Dad's reaction to the vaccine put him in the ER for a week. The doctors didn't know if he was going to make it. And guess what, there have been a few hundred cases reported that had the same reaction as my Dad. If the vaccine was 100% safe with zero side effects, I'd have no problem. And if I hadn't had covid yet, I may think differently as well. The media does a great job of scaring everyone. But it should be a choice, not forced.
  • The vaccine has killed about 500 in Australia. Conservative estimates are around 50000 dead Americans, could be up to million vaccine deaths
  • I know three people who had COVID who got it again. One got it just a few months later. Another has got it three times already. Each time has been worse than the one before. All you've proven if you got it is that you are bad at following basic pandemic protocols (unless you work in a field where it was unavoidable). Everyone needs to be vaxxed. Nobody I know who's been vaxxed has got it, and the data is showing those that do have a breakthrough get a very mild case.
  • There were no protocols back in February 2020.
  • Thanks for bringing some common sense to this thread. It's proven to be scarce.
  • No source for my comment since I saw this on television but the expert stated that natural immunity from two previous covid viruses, both SARS and MERS, have proven to be durable and long lasting, quite possibly even life long. It stands to reason that natural immunity to Covid 19 will also end up being durable and long lasting. The expert also stated that a study from (Switzerland?) has shown that natural immunity is 6+ times more effective than the vaccine at protection from the virus
  • It shouldn't be hard to imagine how that is going to work out for you at one of these companies. Security guard: Papers please. Employee: I already got the COVID and am now fully recovered. Test came back clear. Security guard: PAPERS PLEASE!
  • What an 'inclusive' company. 🙄
  • Yep, includes everyone who gets a free shot.
  • Good.
    Stop complaining.
    Get the vaccine.
    That's really not difficult.
  • It's not that simple either. It's a complex issue that everyone should be making informed decisions on based on their personal health history, not being pressured or forced to do. If you want it great, if you don't that's your choice. 1. Not everyone can take it due to health reasons, and even the manufacturers and those closest in the studies don't even know every combination of pre-existing conditions and combinations of medications yet that can cause complications, allergies, or reduce the effectiveness of the doses. Nor the concerning long term effects with some of the trials are showing with increasing numbers showing they're becoming more susceptible to other serious illnesses compared to those who didn't get it. It might help in the short-term specifically against specific COVID variants, but it's looking like it's effecting the immune response to other serious illnesses (which is why clinical trials with control groups usually take a few years to find out). 2. The vaccines are still not approved and are still going through clinical trials (and using the general public as non-compensated tester subjects). It's not right to mandate something that is not even done testing yet, and where the risk of hospitalization is low for those who are not in the most-at-risk groups (elderly, obese, etc.). There's no reason scientific justification why workers can't just go to the office with masks and distancing and sanitization, just like the majority of other essential workers have been doing during the pandemic and are still fine. It's obviously become more political and profit generating reasoning than medical reasoning. And it's in the manufacturer's best interest because the leading manufacturers are increasing their prices while proposing a 3rd dose despite skyrocketing revenue and acting like they care when they know people need it during a pandemic. 3. mRNA has been in development and testing for many years, but it's efficacy has never been approved for humans yet. It's an interesting technology that can hopefully do wonders for things like cancer, but the fact that it's only had very limited human testing until getting emergency approval for use on the mass-population is frightening. Even the former VP of Vaccines at Pfizer said it's not ready for the mass population yet as there have been concerns in their testing data with how the spike proteins are effecting certain cells in various parts of the body. 4. The masks mandate were re-instated because medical experts first believed breakthrough cases with the vaccinated would carry a lower viral load, but real-word data has shown that not to be the case. And now there's concerning data that vaccinated might be highly contagious, specifically with the Delta variant. Which is also concerning since many of the uninformed vaccinated people think they are immune and free to do anything they want while maskless in large groups thanks to the president and officials irresponsibly saying to do so. So there's a lot of factors, many which are not even listed above. And people should be making careful informed decisions on their personal health, not simply doing things due to pressure or being blackmailed for doing things that everyone has been doing during this whole pandemic including the lowest case points. (And this is coming from someone who's both worked in big pharma and with experience in the health industry)
  • As for 1., most vaccine mandates allow for exceptions based for immunocompromised people or those otherwise unable to get vaccinated due to health reasons. Everyone else should. There's no reason not to. Of course, if you have a history of allergies to vaccines (something they ask you before scheduling your appointment), consult with a doctor first. That's also why they monitor you for 15 to 30 minutes after the shot. Any reaction can be caught.
  • "There's no reason not to" might be one of the most ignorant things that I've heard in a long time. There are lots of reasons not to. Each person is different and there are no guarantees that one won't react violently to the shot. thaman04 has done a pretty good job of outlining the current situation and providing evidence.
  • I have a friend that spent 11 days in the hospital and was so scared about getting the virus again that she ignorantly got the vaccine. She got the injection at the hospital as an extra safety measure and they made her stay for an hour for observation because her original covid infection was so severe. After she got back home she suffered severe side effects two hours after the injection and she was rushed back to the hospital.
  • Regarding 2, where's the data showing that essential workers still working with masks, social distancing, etc are fine? Hospital staff have not been "fine" just because they have those precautions. As for other professional fields, it can really depend on the type of work, some may naturally have less social contact with others. But if no one got vaccinated and you only went in with those precautions, it wouldn't be enough. Whether there are mandates for vaccines, masks, or social distancing, they exist to help prevent the spread of COVID. There may be good reasons why someone may not want to or cannot take a vaccine, but it doesn't mean businesses can't or shouldn't require it if someone wants to go back into the office. Now it'd be different if they say fired someone for not taking the vaccine, but I'm assuming there are other options. If someone can't take it for medical reasons then they may have to continue working remotely at least for the time being, for example.
  • Vaccinated people can still carry the virus and pass it around to others, if they're exposed to it. They're the ones who are immune, but they can spread it.
  • You have blood on your hands
  • My question is why is there so little discussion about natural Immunity in the public, when multiple studies show it has been successful.
  • What studies? Natural immunity doesn't last longer than a few months based on antibody levels and not enough is known to conclude that T cell memory is robust.
  • Here's another article for you from September 2020 about T cells, the doctor is concerned about the focus on only the spike protein. https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/09/09/for-an-effective-covid-vaccine-look... Plus we have decades of studies around T cells and different viruses. We have less than a year of studies around the mRNA vaccines. Other countries accept those that have recovered. But people are making a lot of money from vaccines here in the US, https://news.yahoo.com/pfizer-says-covid-vaccine-generated-134338543.html
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/3-reasons-why-pfizers-and-mode...
  • Natural immunity got 700k in the US killed and millions worldwide. And now, natural immunity is taking out the "natural immunity" crowd daily. A 5 yr old in July and now a 17yr high school football player dead from covid. The delta variant is just warming up. Looking at you Florida!
  • You are braindead
  • Good!
    And after that, they should push for unvaccinated people to also start using a yellow star. Just so we can easily identify those undesirables who just refuse to do as they're told.
  • Oh well at least there will be plenty of job vacancies at Microsoft.
  • True...I'm keeping my eye on upcoming real estate investment opportunities in Florida..
  • I don't get sick and I've been healthy my entire life. I've never taken shots or medicine, and I'm not about to start now. Something is coming and many of you won't notice until it's too late. Things are happening around you and you're not even paying attention. They are pushing this shot way too hard. Covid has been around since before last year. Somehow it gets released and then mysteriously a cure is found so fast. They've been "trying" to cure cancer since before God created the earth. It makes absolutely no sense.
  • Please educate yourself before writing something like this online, it paints a really a bad picture. Do it your way, talk to someone who's studied medicine, a scientist, visit people at laboratories, read papers in medical journal, whatever you like. Visit hospitals where those sick from COVID are being treated. The world is at your fingertips. But there's no excuse for outright ignorance.
  • You are sick. And somewhat dangerous. Dying from your gene therapy "vaccine" will be worth it to virtue signal. You are a pervert
  • Did you attend public school?
  • Well of course!
    Of course people in this thread will argue about their right to be anti-vaccines. But that's the way the world is right now.
    In some countries like mine tens of thousands of people have died waiting for a vaccine, but in USA they are thinking of ways to get the people to vaccine altogether. They give them out for free and even pay you to get the shots. We, the human race, deserve extinction. And a global pandemic is a good start.
  • The "vaccine" was designed for one purpose. Depopulation, and you know it
  • So much misinformation in this comment section.
  • Land of the free home of the Brave.....nope not any more...Microsoft forming their own little dictatorship.
  • More like Land of the Entitled and Home of the Selfish. No one should be free to endanger the rest of us. Go Microsoft!
  • Microsoft will glady let is employees die from vaccine injury (covid variants) so it can virtue signal
  • Bill Gates hangs with his good mates Jeffrey Epstein, of course his company pushes the mark of the beast.