Delta Air Lines official says 4,000 unvaccinated employees got shots after surcharge announcement

Delta Air Lines’s chief health officer announced last week that 4,000 unvaccinated employees got inoculated after the company announced that it was adding a $200 monthly surcharge on its health care plan for employees who were not vaccinated.

Henry Ting, during a media briefing with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said almost 20 percent of the 20,000 unvaccinated Delta employees moved to be inoculated after CEO Ed Bastian announced the new surcharge policy on Aug. 25.

He also said that the company has not seen any turnover or resignations in response to the new policy, according to WGNTV.com.

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Before the new surcharge policy was announced, roughly 74 percent of Delta’s employees were vaccinated. That number, however, is now approximately 78 percent.

Ting said the increase was a “huge number” when recognizing that 20,000 people were at first in opposition to getting inoculated.

“That last 4 percent is very different from the first 4 percent,” he said.

Bastion last month unveiled Delta’s new policy, which requires all unvaccinated employees to get tested for COVID-19 every week and wear a mask in indoor settings.

The health policy surcharge was also part of that announcement.

The new regulations came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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“I know some of you may be taking a wait and see approach, or waiting for full FDA approval. With this week’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time for you to get vaccinated is now,” Bastian told employees in a company memo at the time.

The weekly testing requirement went into effect on Sept. 12 and will remain in place while community case rates are high.

The health care surcharge will be implemented on Nov. 1.

Last month, United Airlines announced a policy that requires all employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, becoming the first major airline to enforce a vaccine mandate.