While a countless number of airline executives have talked about how they’d like employees to be vaccinated (and some have even given employees a small incentive), one airline has taken a major step to actually requiring it.
Delta new hires need to be vaccinated
It has been announced that as of Monday, May 17, Delta will require all new hires in the United States to be vaccinated against coronavirus, unless they qualify for an accommodation.
The Atlanta-based airline explains that the vaccine is the best tool available to achieve herd immunity within its workforce, and the company hopes that this new policy will allow it to “maintain this trajectory.” The airline claims that requiring new hires to be vaccinated is an important move to protect Delta’s people and customers, and to ensure the airline can safety operate as demand returns through recovery and into the future.
Delta won’t require existing employees to get vaccinated
Delta’s mandatory vaccination policy won’t apply to existing employees, but rather only to new hires. As Delta CEO Ed Bastian explains in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest:
“I’m not going to mandate and force people if they have some specific reason 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.”
So, how many employees have chosen to get vaccinated? Delta claims that more than 60% of employees have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and the company hopes that 75-80% of employees will be vaccinated.
Am I the only one who is kind of underwhelmed by the 60% number?
- As of now, over 47% of the population has received at least one dose; however, it’s much closer to 60% of the eligible adult population, meaning that Delta employees aren’t actually getting vaccinated at that much faster of a pace than the general population
- All American adults have been eligible to be vaccinated for about four weeks now, and appointments are easy to come by, so it’s not like Delta employees haven’t had a chance to get vaccinated; heck, just look at how empty Delta’s vaccination center is in the above video
- You’d think airline employees would recognize the role that the vaccine plays in consumer confidence and their livelihoods, and that this would make getting vaccinated a priority
- I at least generally tend to think of frontline airline employees as being reasonably street smart and worldly, in the sense that they interact with people all day from all walks of life, and therefore figure they’d be less likely to fall for internet conspiracy theories, etc. (this is probably just wishful thinking on my part)
- While there isn’t any official data I’ve seen, I’ve heard from several sources that vaccine uptake among pilots isn’t particularly high, which is… unfortunately not that surprising?
Delta will require all newly hired employees to be vaccinated, making Delta the first airline in the USA to have such a requirement. However, what I found equally interesting is that only 60% of Delta employees have even gotten one dose of the vaccine.
You’d think these people would recognize the connection between the vaccine and their livelihood, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for a large percentage of Delta employees.
Am I the only one who is surprised/disappointed that more Delta employees haven’t chosen to get vaccinated?