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All new employees will be required to have Covid-19 vaccine, Delta Air Lines announces

“This is an important move to protect Delta’s people and customers, ensuring the airline can safely operate as demand returns and as it accelerates through recovery and into the future,” the company said in a Friday statement. The new policy will go into effect on Monday.

CEO Ed Bastian touted this week the fact that 60% of the company’s employees have received at least one shot of a vaccine, but he expects to have staff fully vaccinated at a 75%-to-80% rate in the near future. 

Spokesperson Morgan Durrant said the current vaccination rate within the company represents “great progress to achieve herd immunity within our workforce.”

Bastian acknowledged that it would be unfair to force current employees to get vaccinated if they have “some kind of philosophical issue” with it, but that courtesy does not extend to new hires. 

He did stress, however, that employees who do not get vaccinated could face restrictions, such as not being able to work on international flights.

Delta, which has 75,000 employees, is taking things a step further than other major corporations, as most, such as Amazon and Target, have simply tried incentivizing employees to get vaccinated, either by giving them a chance to get the shots during work hours or offering bonuses for new hires. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in December that companies can require employees to get vaccinated, with the two exemptions being disabilities or religious reasons. 

American Airlines has also offered employees an extra day off next year to employees who get their vaccinations. 

New guidance from the CDC still requires masks when using transportation such as airplanes, despite the mandate being lifted for fully vaccinated individuals, indoors and outdoors, unless required by a business.

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