“Delta will require all new hires in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they qualify for an accommodation,” the company said in a statement.
The requirement will protect Delta’s employees and customers, ensuring the airline can safely operate as the number of fliers increases, the company said.
“I’m not going to mandate and force people if they have some specific reason why they don’t want to get vaccinated, but I’m going to strongly encourage them and make sure they understand the risks to not getting vaccinated,” CEO Ed Bastian told CNN in a recent interview at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta, which is being used as a vaccination center.
“One caveat to that, though. Any person joining Delta in the future—future employees—we’re going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company,” he added.
Over 60 percent of Delta workers have received at least one vaccine dose and Bastian believes the final number will approach 80 percent.
But Bastian said it wouldn’t be fair to current employees to make vaccination a requirement to stay in their job, “if there’s some philosophical issue they have.”