United Airlines pilot Steve Lindland receives a COVID-19 vaccine from RN Sandra Manella at United’s on-site clinic at O’Hare International Airport on March 9, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
United Airlines will require its 67,000 U.S. employees to be vaccinated against Covid by October 25 or the end of the risk, a premium for major U.S. carriers that is likely to increase pressure on rivals.
Airlines including United have so far resisted vaccination mandates for all workers, while offering incentives such as extra pay or free time to be inoculated. Delta Air Lines in May began hiring new employees to demonstrate the vaccination test. United followed suit in June.
United’s requirement is one of the strictest vaccination mandates from an American company and one that includes employees who regularly interact with clients such as flight attendants and port agents.
U.S. companies like Facebook have announced that employees will have to show they have been vaccinated to return to the office. Others require them only for certain workers. Walmart, for example, said last week that it will be necessary for corporate staff and employees at the management level. Uber said U.S. office staff will need to be vaccinated to get back to work in person, but it has stopped short of needing for drivers.
Meatpacker Tyson Foods said this week its 120,000 American employees should be fully vaccinated this year, even though more than 50,000 are already there.
“We know that some of you will not agree with this decision to require vaccination for all UK employees,” UK CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in a statement on Friday. ’employee. “But, we have no greater responsibility for you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you are at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”
United Airlines employees must file proof that they have received two doses of Pfizer or Modern vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine five weeks after federal officials gave them full approval by or before the 25th. October, according to the first, executives say. Exceptions will be made for certain health problems or religious reasons, United said.
The mandate does not apply to regional airlines flying shorter routes to United.
Many United employees have already said they have been vaccinated, including about 90 percent of pilots and 80 percent of flight attendants, according to company officials. United has not said what the company’s overall vaccination rate will be.
In contrast, about 60% of American Airlines pilots are vaccinated, according to an Aug. 5 letter to members of their union, the Allied Pilots Association, which encouraged aviators to get vaccinated.
United did not say what the company’s overall vaccination rate will be.
The decision was partly driven by concerns about the increase in Covid-19 cases last year during the fall and winter, company officials say.
Competitors Delta Air Lines, American and Southwest Airlines did not immediately say whether they planned to send vaccines as well.