Vaccine Mandates Are a ‘Basic Safety Issue,’ Says United CEO

By Paul Riegler on 13 August 2021
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United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told President Biden in the course of a meeting to discuss national vaccination efforts that he believes that vaccine mandates for companies will become the norm in the coming weeks, as the surge in coronavirus cases fueled by the India, or Delta, variant, escalates.

“A few weeks from now, this is going to be something that’s widespread across the country because it’s really just a basic safety issue,” Kirby told CNN shortly after the meeting.

The meeting was attended by a variety of business and institutional leaders including the CEO of Kaiser Permanente and the president of Howard University.  The purpose of the meeting was to share strategies for increasing vaccination rates within their workforces and customer bases.

United Airlines recently announced it would mandate Covid vaccinations for all employees, a move followed by Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.  Delta Air Lines requires all new employees to be vaccinated but it is not requiring current workers to get the jab.

However, United’s largest competitors – American Airlines and Southwest Airlines – are merely encouraging their employees to get vaccinated, not requiring it.

Meanwhile, even as major cities such as New York and San Francisco are requiring vaccine passports for dining in a restaurant or going to a fitness center, there is no such requirement in place for airline passengers and, while an aircraft in flight is one of the safest places to be, in terms of Covid transmission, the same is not true for airports where passengers gather and the buses and trains they may use to access the airport.

A requirement for airline passengers to be vaccinated, Kirby has said, would have to come from the government, however, not from any individual airline.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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