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United will require all its U.S. employees to be vaccinated

United will require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated, a first for country’s major airlines.

United Airlines will require its 67,000 U.S. employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by no later than Oct. 25 or risk termination, a first for major U.S. carriers that will likely ramp up pressure on rivals.

Airlines including United had resisted vaccine mandates for all workers, instead offering incentives like extra pay or time off to get inoculated. Delta Air Lines in May started requiring newly hired employees to show proof of vaccination. United followed suit in June.

United’s requirement is one of the strictest vaccine mandates from a U.S. company and one that includes employees who interact regularly with customers like flight attendants and gate agents.

United Airlines employees must upload proof that they received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose five weeks after federal officials give full approval to them or by Oct. 25, whichever is first, the executives said. Exceptions will be made for certain health issues or religious reasons, United said.

Many of United’s employees have already reported they have been vaccinated, including more than 90% of pilots and 80% of flight attendants, according to company officials. United didn’t disclose the company’s overall vaccination rate.

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