Activision Blizzard will no longer require staff to be vaccinated against Covid, as the embattled Call of Duty and World of Warcraft company tries to encourage more people back into its offices from June.
The company said its move reflected similar changes made by other businesses across the US, in a company-wide email from exec Brian Bulatao, shared by ABK Worker Alliance's Jessica Gonzalez (thanks, Kotaku).
Bulatao's email began by suggesting conditions in the US were currently improving - despite the rising tide of new cases brought by the increasingly-dominant Omicron BA.2 subvariant, and the relatively low percentage of US citizens protected by a Covid booster dose.
LEAKED: Brian Bulatao emailed all of ABK to talk returning to office in June. They will not be enforcing proof of vaccination. I’m sure the ‘benefits’ of in person collaboration is actually so employees organizing can be followed and monitored closely. Do not die for this company pic.twitter.com/MSOwWVYBR3— Jessica Gonzalez🇮🇹✨Astarion’s food bank (@_TechJess) March 31, 2022
"Effective immediately, we are lifting our vaccine mandate for all US employees," Bulatao wrote. "This means that employees no longer need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to return to the office.
"Over the past several weeks, we've seen businesses and other indoor venues across the US lift vaccine requirements, and we feel it is important to align our site protocols with local guidance," he continued. "While this change in policy addresses our current state in the pandemic, we know the situation is ever-evolving and we will continue to monitor the risks for Covid-19 in all areas where we operate."
Activision Blizzard employees have been asked to share their vaccination status with the company as part of their corporate employee record. This was important, Bultato wrote, in case of the need to "pivot" in future due to another "spike" in cases.
Staff have criticised the move as being one which increases the level of risk for colleagues who are disabled or immunocompromised, or who live with others who are.