United Airlines is requiring all employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in the U.S. by October 31, or sooner. This joins a growing list of large corporations responding to an increase in cases.
Company leaders called it a matter of safety and cited “incredibly compelling” evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines.
“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told employees Friday. But, they added, “the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”
United Airlines, with 67,000 workers in America, has announced that it will now require all employees to be vaccinated. Since mid-June, the airline requires vaccinations for new employees. At company offices, employees who aren’t vaccinated must wear masks.
According to Chicago-based Airline, up to 90% of pilots and nearly 80% of flight attendants have been vaccinated. Incentives are offered to them.
The airline told U.S. employees Friday that they will need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 25 or five weeks after the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval to any one vaccine — whichever date comes first. So far, the FDA has only granted emergency-use approval of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Expect full approval soon.
Every employee must send a picture of their vaccination card to the company. Those who don’t will be terminated, with exemptions granted only for religious or health reasons, officials said.
According to Kirby and Hart, employees who have been vaccinated already or are due by Sept. 20, will be paid an additional day.
Delta Air Lines operates a vaccination center for employees, just like United. Recently, they started mandating shots for new hires. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said this week that 73% of the airline’s workforce is vaccinated. Executives at other airlines have similarly encouraged their workers to get vaccinated, even offering bonuses and paid time off to get the shots, but haven’t made them mandatory.
Travel companies and airlines were particularly affected by the pandemic. People entering the United States must present proof of negative COVID-19 testing. Additionally, the Biden administration will require that non-U.S. citizens be immunized before they can enter the country.
United’s CEO stated the airline doesn’t plan to make passengers vaccinated. He called it a government decision. American and Delta CEOs have also ruled out the possibility of a passenger mandate.
This week Tyson Foods announced it will require all U.S. employees to get vaccinated by November — notable because unlike the tech companies, Tyson relies on many lower-paid workers who cannot do their jobs remotely. Tyson was criticised by United Food and Commercial Workers president for making the mandatory requirement, even though the vaccines have not yet received emergency FDA approval.
A handful of governments have begun to get involved. New York City, California, will require that all employees are vaccinated. California mandateIt applies to employees in private and public hospitals as well as nursing homes.
New rules were issued as America struggles to contain an epidemic of COVID-19-related infections. While the number of coronavirus infections has increased from 12,000 to over 90,000. During this time, hospitalizations have been declining.