Nearly all major airlines mandate COVID vaccine for employees

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The union representing American Airlines warned that staffing shortages might begin as the vacation journey season begins if employees lose their jobs for refusing to get the COVID vaccine. 

“What we’re looking for is to ensure that there’s a pilot in the cockpit,” mentioned Dennis Tajer, the spokesman for Allied Pilots Association. “If you suddenly one day have 4,000-plus pilots that are not able to fly, that’s a big deal. That’s worse than this past summer.”

But the biggest pilots affiliation and most major carriers — United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines — affirm they may observe President Biden’s govt order requiring staff to get the pictures. 

Airlines are thought-about authorities contractors underneath Mr. Biden’s federal vaccine plan. On Thursday, Mr. Biden thanked United for being the primary of at the very least six carriers to implement a COVID vaccine mandate.

United mentioned a whole bunch of vaccine holdouts modified course previously week as they risked shedding their jobs. As of September 28, 593 employees refused to get the vaccine, in response to the company. By October 7, that quantity decreased to 232. 

Delta Air Lines is flying a unique route. Delta CEO Ed Bastian mentioned he’s undecided on the mandate and pointed to a $200-per-month surcharge for unvaccinated employees, placing the service’s compliance rate at 85%. 

“I think we’ll be well over 90 percent by the end of this month,” Bastian mentioned.

Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt mentioned he is “perplexed” by Delta’s stance and suspects the airline will ultimately give in. 

“They have no choice,” he mentioned. “It’s mandate vaccinations for your employees or potentially risk losing government contracts, which for Delta are worth many millions of dollars.”

There’s additionally a push for all airline passengers to be vaccinated. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, just lately launched a invoice that might require passengers on home flights to be totally vaccinated. Passengers who aren’t vaccinated might present a current adverse check end result or documentation that they’ve totally recovered from the sickness. 

Airlines have up to now resisted going that far. 

As of October 30, those that need to fly in Canada will need to have at the very least one dose of the vaccine to take action, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced. 

Errol Barnett

Errol Barnett is a transportation correspondent for CBS News primarily based in New York.