Delta becomes first U.S. airline to require vaccines for new hires

Coronavirus

ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — Delta is the first major U.S. airline to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all new hires.

The company announced its decision in a statement saying the policy will go into effect Monday, May 17th.

“Delta knows that vaccines are the best tool available to protect one another and bring an end to the pandemic, and the airline has made great progress to achieve herd immunity within its workforce, with more than 60 percent of employees already vaccinated. To help maintain this trajectory, Delta will require all new hires in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they qualify for an accommodation, effective Monday, May 17,” the company said in a statement.

Delta, throughout the pandemic, required all employees and customers to wear masks on flights unless eating or drinking.

The company employees approximately 74,000 people which the company says 60% have received a vaccination. This mandate only applies to new hires, but current employees are strongly encouraged to receive a shot.

Other airlines have not issued official policies yet on vaccinations, but are continuing to require masks for customers and employees.

United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby said in January that the airline may make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for workers, which a spokeswoman said in March the company is still considering once vaccines are more widely available.

“A vaccine mandate only works if the vaccine is widely available to all of our U.S. employees, which we know is not yet the case,” she said

Delta and United Airlines both operate vaccination sites at two major airports.

As of Friday, The CDC reported that approximately 50% of the U.S. population has received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine with over 120,000,00 citizens fully vaccinated. The agency also announced Thursday that masks would no longer be required for vaccinated people in or outdoors. Unvaccinated people are still encouraged to wear a mask

Read Delta’s full statement below:

Delta knows that vaccines are the best tool available to protect one another and bring an end to the pandemic, and the airline has made great progress to achieve herd immunity within its workforce, with more than 60 percent of employees already vaccinated. To help maintain this trajectory, Delta will require all new hires in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they qualify for an accommodation, effective Monday, May 17.

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. Delta will not be putting in place a company-wide mandate to require current employees to be vaccinated.

Approximately two out of 10 Americans have been infected by COVID-19, and one out of 1,000 Americans has died from the virus. The vaccines are not only extremely effective in preventing illness and symptoms from COVID-19, but they are also nearly 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death. Vaccines are safe, effective and essential to the future of the airline and our world.

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