United Mandates Vaccines, Other Major Airlines Reject It

United Airlines planes are seen parked at San Francisco International Airport on July 14, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

United Airlines has announced it will mandate vaccines for its employees, while Southwest, American and Delta have decided against it, the Hill reported.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees in a memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

All 67,000 United employees will be required to show proof of vaccination by Oct. 25, or up to five weeks after the FDA gives the coronavirus vaccines full approval, whichever is first. The FDA’s stamp of approval, as opposed to the emergency authorization Pfizer and Moderna are relying on, is expected to be coming in the next few weeks.

“Over the last 16 months, Scott has sent dozens of condolences letters to the family members of United employees who have died from COVID-19,” the memo continued. “We’re determined to do everything we can to try to keep another United family from receiving that letter.”

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said the company will “strongly encourage” the vaccine but “but nothing has changed” in their policies.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the company already has a 75% vaccination rate among its workers, and mandates all new hires be vaccinated.

American Airlines, though not mandating the vaccines, will provide incentives to employees in the form of extra vacation days if they get vaccinated by Sept. 1.

“We certainly encourage it everywhere we can, encourage it for our customers and our employees, but we’re not putting mandates in place,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said.



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