SFO Airport Adds Employee Vaccine Mandate

SFO Airport Adds Employee Vaccine Mandate

31

We’ve seen some airlines start to require vaccination among employees, and now one major airport in the United States has added a similar requirement.

SFO’s new employee vaccine requirement

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has announced that each tenant and on-site contractor must immediately require all on-site personnel to be fully vaccinated. On-site personnel includes anyone whose primary duties are performed on airport property, and/or who require an airport ID badge to perform duties. For these purposes, airline crew members aren’t considered to be on-site personnel.

Exceptions to this requirement can only be granted for medical disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs, and those employees granted exceptions must get a molecular coronavirus test on a weekly basis.

As it’s described, this new policy is being introduced because the airport is preparing for business to return to pre-pandemic levels, and the airport has the obligation to assure it’s safe for the traveling public and individuals who work there. Furthermore, the vaccine requirement is supposed to help with maintaining continuous and efficient operations.

The airport is introducing this new policy fairly quickly:

  • By October 1, 2021, tenants and contractors will have to share with the airport the number of fully vaccinated on-site personnel, the number of partially vaccinated on-site personnel, and the number of exemptions granted
  • By December 1, 2021, all on-site personnel must either be fully vaccinated or have an exemption

The airport is making getting vaccinated easy, as the SFO Medical Clinic offers the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Airline crews will be exempt from this requirement

How will exemptions be issued?

It’s interesting to see how the airport is recommending determining eligibility for an exemption. Tenants and contractors have to manage the review, accommodation, and exemption process through their own internal protocols and procedures, and are told to consult with their own legal counsel before approving or denying an employee’s request.

When it comes to religious exemptions for getting vaccinated, here’s what the airport says:

To qualify for a religious exemption from the health order’s vaccination requirement, an employee must demonstrate:

— the employee has a sincerely held belief that prohibits them from receiving the
vaccination, and
— that belief is religious rather than secular or scientific.

Employees may make a request for exemption verbally or in writing. And an employer may request its employee supply additional written information about the claimed belief. The SFDPH health order also requires employees to state that they are making their request under penalty of perjury.

When it comes to medical exemptions for getting vaccinated, here’s what the airport says:

A list of recognized conditions that prevent someone from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is available, and includes:

— Documented history of severe allergic reaction to one or more ingredients of all the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S.; or
— Documented history of severe or immediate-type hypersensitivity allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine, along with a reason why the individual cannot be vaccinated with one of the other available vaccines.

If an employee believes they have a qualifying condition, they must provide their employer (or the business where they are working) with a signed statement from a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician stating that the individual qualifies for the exemption. The statement should not reveal any underlying medical condition or disability.

Those with exemptions will have to get tested

Bottom line

San Francisco International Airport will become the first major airport in the country to introduce a vaccine mandate for all employees. This includes virtually anyone working on-site, so that does include airline ground employees (gate agents, rampers, etc.), but doesn’t include airline inflight crews.

San Francisco is one of the most highly vaccinated major cities in the United States, so it’s not surprising to see such a policy being introduced by the city’s airport. It’ll be interesting to see if other airports match. If other airports match, I’d guess that they’ll be in cities that have very high vaccination rates, given the general politics at play.

Do you think other airlines will introduce a similar requirement?

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  1. Cmorgan

    Of course SFO would. The liberal capital of the US. Maybe they should clean up all the human feces, used needles and trash strewn about their once pretty city before instituting another policy

  2. Jetjock64

    @UA-NYC, open just about any newspaper and read it. This has been in the news for weeks now. Science illiteracy has been killing off conservatives in droves of late, so that the Dem's odds in the 2022 midterms are no doubt materially improving as a result. The country's average IQ is also increasing as a side effect.

    1. Der Fliegende Amerikaner

      Totally agree. One of the few good things about this pandemic is that most likely, the people who are dying due to covid are more likely to be Trump voters.

      So to all of you anti-vaxxers, say "hell no" to the futile vaccines! Throw way those masks. After all, ya gotta breath. And stock up and keep popping the ivermectin!

    2. Cmorgan

      JetJock64 your ignorance is astounding? Did you even graduate from HS? I am vaccinated and mask up when required as do most of my friends and colleagues. We are almost all conservatives. It’s your IQ which is clearly lacking for posting such nonsense.

  3. Jeffrey I Chang

    Interesting that they have no exemption regarding prior infection and natural immunity. Heck, a CDC study that looked at prisons found that about 70% of prisoners that were vaccinated still contracted COVID although they did not experience severe illness or death.

    70%...unless they test every single employee weekly using a blood draw, this is just punishing the unvaccinated including the ones with natural immunity while having a permissive attitude to other vectors allowing more...

    Interesting that they have no exemption regarding prior infection and natural immunity. Heck, a CDC study that looked at prisons found that about 70% of prisoners that were vaccinated still contracted COVID although they did not experience severe illness or death.

    70%...unless they test every single employee weekly using a blood draw, this is just punishing the unvaccinated including the ones with natural immunity while having a permissive attitude to other vectors allowing more COVID spread.

    1. Andrew

      I notice this is your one data point for every argument. (Single study from a single prison with a hefty list of underlying conditions.) The same study and many others talk about outcomes for the unvaccinated.

      Do you think it’s a little disingenuous to omit that from your argument? If I didn’t know better, I would say you are not recommending vaccination.

    2. Jeffrey I Chang

      "Do you think it’s a little disingenuous to omit that from your argument?"

      No. I believe if we should be informed about co-morbidities than the news media should be consistent across the board. Every single unvaccinated death they report should be accompanied by the person BMI, health conditions, age, co morbidities, etc.

      If the lack of relevant details if good enough for the trusted media than it should be good enough for me.

      ...

      "Do you think it’s a little disingenuous to omit that from your argument?"

      No. I believe if we should be informed about co-morbidities than the news media should be consistent across the board. Every single unvaccinated death they report should be accompanied by the person BMI, health conditions, age, co morbidities, etc.

      If the lack of relevant details if good enough for the trusted media than it should be good enough for me.

      "If I didn’t know better, I would say you are not recommending vaccination."

      If you want to get vaccinated go ahead and do so. If you are elderly and/or sickly I think its a good idea. If you have concerns please consult your physician. I am just an internet person providing more information.

      Additionally, since the state has near carte blanche over the bodily autonomy of its citizens in a workplace, do you believe that a weekly blood test for ALL employees to screen for COVID will provide greater protection than the standard of the vaccinated bot having to test?

    3. Andrew

      It’s weird to see someone who is so thoroughly ambivalent about the vaccine. Since you’re down with reading CDC articles, I would recommend checking up on whether this is really an “elderly or immunocompromised-only” affair.

      Pro tip: look for articles after July 2021. Delta has changed the game.

  4. Ted

    Protects you from dying! 96%+ of covid deaths now are unvaccinated. It’s just a shot and it works great

    1. Samuel

      Cite the actual data on this. Not the regurgitated talking points being passed around from newspaper to newspaper.

    2. UA-NYC

      How about every hospital reporting that ~95+% of hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated? Or is that not being reported on Faux news these days.

  5. Ted

    Great news! Happy since I have upcominng connection in SFO x2 in October. Vaccines save lives!

  6. Kenny

    Ahh, yes. The great vaccine that doesn't really protect you, or anyone else, from contracting covid.

    1. Matt

      This is false. Please do not spread misinformation.

    2. Andrew

      Kenny, that's patently false. Don't be a tool.

    3. Jeffrey I Chang

      "Kenny, that's patently false. Don't be a tool."

      He is only a little wrong. 70% of vaccinated prisoners' contracted COVID as opposed to 90% of unvaccinated prisoners. The 20% difference is substantial but it odds of protection against contracting COVID is less that a coin toss.

      I hope you agree that mandatory blood draws for all employee to screen for COVID is the best option.

      https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7038e3.htm?s_cid=mm7038e3_x

    4. Joshua

      Jeffery,

      Suggesting that an incarcerated population is an analogue for the public at large is a mistake.

      Yes delta is very contagious. The more virus you are exposed to the higher likelihood there is that you may get sick, vaccinated or not. For a population in jail with minimal ability to distance and no changing of the members of the population who are always in close contact this is an issue. For the rest...

      Jeffery,

      Suggesting that an incarcerated population is an analogue for the public at large is a mistake.

      Yes delta is very contagious. The more virus you are exposed to the higher likelihood there is that you may get sick, vaccinated or not. For a population in jail with minimal ability to distance and no changing of the members of the population who are always in close contact this is an issue. For the rest of us who do not generally remain in a small pod or cell with the same people for 24 hours a day that risk is much less. That is why for the public at large our vaccines are 40-80% effective at preventing symptomatic illness (depending on which vaccine you got).

    5. Jeffrey I Chang

      "Suggesting that an incarcerated population is an analogue for the public at large is a mistake."

      I am not stating that a prison population is similar to the general population anymore so than the subset of persons working at an international airport is comparable to the general population. Airports have very good places for disease transmission, have innumerable high touch surfaces, and is a closed environment with planes leaving constantly.

      I am merely advocating...

      "Suggesting that an incarcerated population is an analogue for the public at large is a mistake."

      I am not stating that a prison population is similar to the general population anymore so than the subset of persons working at an international airport is comparable to the general population. Airports have very good places for disease transmission, have innumerable high touch surfaces, and is a closed environment with planes leaving constantly.

      I am merely advocating for weekly blood testing to screen for COVID for all employees. If limiting spread is the main goal and the Biden regimes edict is that bodily autonomy is an alien concept in the workplace (when it comes to testing) than I do see the issue with weekly blood testing for as long as COVID exists.

    6. Joshua

      The touch aspect of covid transmission has been dismissed as a driving factor in transmission.

      Airports certianly are a risk factor as it is a location where a lot of people congregate and then disperse, potentiallly across the globe. But it’s almost universally not the same people (inmates) in the same location (jail pod) for not only hours, but months to years, continuously.

      So you use a very specific example of vaccine relative...

      The touch aspect of covid transmission has been dismissed as a driving factor in transmission.

      Airports certianly are a risk factor as it is a location where a lot of people congregate and then disperse, potentiallly across the globe. But it’s almost universally not the same people (inmates) in the same location (jail pod) for not only hours, but months to years, continuously.

      So you use a very specific example of vaccine relative ineffectiveness regarding transmission to advocate for testing in a very different situation under the assumption of a similar vaccine ineffectiveness.

      For the general public vaccination continues to be exceedingly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. As an emergency medical provider that’s all I care about. If you catch covid, feel like crap for a week, and get better, I’m not concerned. Even if you give it to someone else who will most likely have a similar course of illlness if vaccinated (or previously infected. The choice to ignore naturally acquired immunity is a mistake).

      Covid—19 is going to become an endemic virus we will never get rid of. The only way out of this pandemic is via immunity, either via infection or via vaccination. One route offers lots of illness, disability, and full hospitals. The other greatly reduces all three. Once covid becomes like the common cold, something that rarely kills and usually causes the sniffles, we will all be much better off.

  7. George

    Segregation is the ANSWER!
    Force people to do stuff to their bodies they don't want!

    Maybe we can have different bathrooms soon too?
    Vaccinated people on one side, the awful, unvaccinated on the other.

    Separate, but equal.

    Also, news flash: Vaccinated people don't contribute to herd immunity.
    So everyone who is vaccinated with a non-sterilizing vaccine, is just protecting themselves, they aren't slowing the spread of anything.

    1. Matt

      This is false. Please do not spread misinformation.

    2. Jeffrey I Chang

      70% of fully vaccinated prisoners caught COVID-19 in a Texas Delta outbreak, the CDC says — but vaccines protected against severe disease

      All the jab does is give a vaccinated person somewhat more protection than an unvaccinated person. If the really wanted to stop the spread everyone should be required to submit to weekly blood draws for COVID.

    3. Andrew

      I’m not clear on your thesis. Weekly blood draws? You can catch Covid in a crowded stadium - along with many hundreds of others. By the time a weekly test comes around, there will be a giant cluster of cases.

      As your often-cited study indicates in the closing, a multi-layered strategy (vaccines and masking, at a minimum) is best for controlling this.

      And your ‘it only helps yourself’ argument is also weak - everyone should...

      I’m not clear on your thesis. Weekly blood draws? You can catch Covid in a crowded stadium - along with many hundreds of others. By the time a weekly test comes around, there will be a giant cluster of cases.

      As your often-cited study indicates in the closing, a multi-layered strategy (vaccines and masking, at a minimum) is best for controlling this.

      And your ‘it only helps yourself’ argument is also weak - everyone should have more protection so that our ICU bed capacity can be available for ‘regular’ high-acuity cases.

    4. Jeffrey I Chang

      "I’m not clear on your thesis. Weekly blood draws? You can catch Covid in a crowded stadium - along with many hundreds of others. By the time a weekly test comes around, there will be a giant cluster of cases."

      Okay, daily PCR nasal testing and weekly blood draws for all employees regardless of vaccination status. Many schools already require testing and the executive branch requires anyone entering the White House submit to a...

      "I’m not clear on your thesis. Weekly blood draws? You can catch Covid in a crowded stadium - along with many hundreds of others. By the time a weekly test comes around, there will be a giant cluster of cases."

      Okay, daily PCR nasal testing and weekly blood draws for all employees regardless of vaccination status. Many schools already require testing and the executive branch requires anyone entering the White House submit to a nasal test.

      Surely you find my proposal of:
      > Daily nasal PCR tests for all employees
      > Weekly Blood Testing for all employees
      to be reasonable given your position that:
      "everyone should have more protection so that our ICU bed capacity can be available for ‘regular’ high-acuity cases."

      After all, what are you going to argue? Bodily autonomy in the workplace? You have not per the Biden regimes declaration .

    5. Never In Doubt

      I’d just settle for keeping the unvaccinated morons out of the ICU in case I have a car accident.

      Other than that, they can live their lives as they wish.

    6. Mark

      I like these ideas separate as much as absolutely policy. BTW segregation is when it's not a choice. This is a choice, very different.

    7. Andrew

      Please cite your news source on that hot take about the vaccine.

  8. Never In Doubt

    As Ben noted, the Bay Area is already very vaccinated (SF 12+ is at 81%), and other local public employee groups are already required to be vaccinated.

    This isn’t being introduced into some inbred backward hayseed locale.

    1. Jerry

      You're not wrong, but I would imagine that most of the airport workers don't live in the 49 Sq. Miles of SF proper, so they could potentially be coming from less vaccinated areas.

    2. Andrew

      Potentially. Excluding San Francisco: Alemeda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin and Contra Costa are all swinging it above 70%. Solano and Napa aren't doing that well... but that's a horrible commute to SFO. They're likely coming from Alamdea / other east bay communities.

  9. Zr11

    Ben, have you seen this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcqfANpWY-k

Featured Comments Load all 31 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Kenny

Ahh, yes. The great vaccine that doesn't really protect you, or anyone else, from contracting covid.

George

Segregation is the ANSWER! Force people to do stuff to their bodies they don't want! Maybe we can have different bathrooms soon too? Vaccinated people on one side, the awful, unvaccinated on the other. Separate, but equal. Also, news flash: Vaccinated people don't contribute to herd immunity. So everyone who is vaccinated with a non-sterilizing vaccine, is just protecting themselves, they aren't slowing the spread of anything.

Cmorgan

Of course SFO would. The liberal capital of the US. Maybe they should clean up all the human feces, used needles and trash strewn about their once pretty city before instituting another policy

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