Disney Parks and Resorts plans to pause the mandatory vaccination of new employees at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, two days after a county passed an ordinance making it illegal for such people to work in the facility, a spokesperson for the company said.
On Friday, the Lake County council passed a resolution prohibiting the county’s 7,800 school-age children and up to 15,000 others from having unvaccinated staff on premises, in light of a measles outbreak in the US.
Disney will still make everyone who comes to work for the company take a vaccine, the spokesperson said, but the motion “does not apply” to guests, who will be exempt from being required to be vaccinated.
“We have every belief that immunization is the best way to protect guests and employees from potentially dangerous infectious diseases,” the spokesperson said. “However, as a responsible employer, we also have an obligation to protect our employees, and therefore, we will follow county law and pause new hires from going unvaccinated.”
Immunization rates at hospitals, nursing homes and schools across the US are falling to dangerously low levels – an average of 21% of the school-age population in the states of California, Virginia and Ohio were not vaccinated in 2014, though some local authorities are trying to boost vaccination rates in public schools through vaccination ordinances.
Since 2014, five measles cases have been diagnosed at Disney parks, the most recent in July. There have been at least 100 measles cases reported in the US this year, as part of a worldwide surge in measles infections that infected 214,000 and killed 105,000 people between January and June of this year.