Delta Airlines Will Require All New Employees to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19, the first major U.S. airline to impose a vaccine requirement on some of its workforce. Delta Airlines won't require existing employees to be vaccinated, but CEO Ed Bastian said that unvaccinated staff may be prohibited from working international routes, given the possible entry requirements by other countries.
“Any person joining Delta in the future, a future employee, we're going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company,” Bastian told CNN.
Bastian went on to say that over 60% of Delta employees had received at least one vaccine shot, a figure he expects to climb to ~80% eventually.
So far, no other major U.S. airline has mandated that employees or future employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Back in January 2021, United CEO Scott Kirby said at a company town hall that he wanted United Airlines to Make the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandatory for Employees, but that has not occurred yet. Part of the issue at present is that the vaccines are distributed under the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), a less rigorous approval procedure to aid with the pandemic, so most vaccine mandates will have to wait until the vaccines receive full FDA approval. Pfizer is seeking full FDA approval for its vaccine for people 16 years old and older, a process that could take 6-10 months.
Abroad, airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways have vaccinated all of their pilots and in-flight crew. Cathay Pacific says that 80% of its pilots and 40% of its cabin crew have booked or received their vaccination. And Qantas will require all passengers to be vaccinated, as well as Qantas pilots and flight crew, for all international flights, although international flights between Australia and the U.S. aren't expected to resume until sometime in 2022.
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