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Massachusetts Companies Starting To Announce Vaccination Requirements For Employees

BOSTON (CBS) - Get a shot if you want to work here. That's what more and more Massachusetts companies are saying, and it's a trend that's stirring up debate.

"It is a free country, so I don't understand why you have to force people to do it," said Dylan Quint from Boston.

"I think private companies have every right to do whatever they want," countered Stephanie Michael.

With the Biden administration now requiring federal employees to either get a COVID-19 vaccination, or mask-up at work, other companies are taking it a step further. Some are making it a condition of employment for those who do not have medical or religious exemptions.

"We're seeing a significant change in the attitudes towards that," said Greg Reibman, who heads the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber.

The organization took a survey of about 450 member businesses. One in four said they're planning vaccination mandates. "Businesses had all hoped that people would volunteer to do it," said Reibman. "Unfortunately, it hasn't happened fast enough, given the Delta variant."

Google, which has about 2,000 Massachusetts employees and an office in Cambridge, has announced it's requiring employee vaccinations. So has Mintz law firm, with hundreds of employees based out of Boston's Financial District. "We have immune compromised employees who obviously are still at risk," said Managing Partner Bob Bodian. "Their health and safety is important to us, and I think our employees by and large want to be in the safest and healthiest environment."

Months ago, a string of local colleges announced students have to be vaccinated. Now some, including Boston University, are expanding that to staff too. "We know even with the vaccine mandate, we won't get 100% vaccination," said Judy Platt, Director of Student Health Services. "A requirement for our whole campus gets us as close as we possibly can to that number."

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