United, Frontier requiring employee COVID-19 vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — United Airlines and Frontier Airlines will require its employees to get vaccinated.

Both companies announced the rules on Friday.

United Airlines vaccine mandate

United Airlines announced Friday that all 67,000 U.S.-based employees will be required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees are required to upload a vaccine card showing two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“Over the last nine months though, we have learned a lot about this disease, including how vaccines are – by far – the most effective way to protect people from COVID-19,” CEO J. Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart said in the announcement. “In fact, we know now that an unvaccinated person is about 50 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than a vaccinated person and nearly 300 times more likely to die.”

A company letter on the announcement does not specify rules on exemptions. The company will host town halls on the measure.

The deadline will be five weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it has fully approved a COVID-19 vaccine or five weeks after Sept. 20, whichever comes first. The latest deadline would be Oct. 25, but the company is planning for the earlier one.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees. But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated,” they say in the release.

Employees who are already vaccinated or get vaccinated and upload their records before Sept. 20 will receive an extra payday.

The deal excludes officers and employees who already received union-negotiated compensation for providing vaccination proof.

United provides additional COVID safety measures including; a mask mandate for employees, customer COVID-19 testing and contact tracing and HEPA filtration system operations during the entire boarding and deplaning process.

The airline estimates up to 90% of its pilots and close to 80% of its flight attendants are already vaccinated.

Frontier Airlines vaccine mandate

Frontier Airlines will require all employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations by Oct. 1, the company announced on Friday.

Employees who refuse vaccination or unable to get them must submit to regular COVID-19 tests.

“As we continue to watch the rapid increase of new COVID-19 cases across the United States caused by the Delta variant, I am concerned for the well-being of our team members, their families and friends,” said Barry Biffle, president and CEO of Frontier Airlines. “Safety is of the utmost importance at Frontier and we need to take every step possible for us to keep our teams safe, protect the operation and protect our passengers. The time has come to do what we can to help put an end to COVID-19.”

Frontier provides additional COVID safety measures including a mask mandate for employees and passengers, enhanced cleaning and a health acknowledgement for passengers.

The airline is also encouraging passengers to get vaccinated by offering 10,000 bonus miles for anyone who books by Aug. 31. They’re also offering free airfare for some passengers.

“The good news is that the vast majority of our employees have already taken this important step and have gotten vaccinated,” Biffle added. “I hope the step we’re announcing today will further increase the percentage of our workforce that’s fully vaccinated.”

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