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Delta Air Lines to mandate vaccines for new hires and will most likely bar its staff from international flights if they refuse a shot

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Ed Bastian
Delta CEO Ed Bastian. Steve Marcus/Reuters
  • Delta Air Lines will require all new employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, its CEO said.

  • Delta's current workforce will be exempt from the mandate, CEO Ed Bastian told CNN.

  • Workers who refuse a shot, however, may be barred from international flights, he said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Delta Air Lines will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for new hires, and the company may stop current staff members from working on international flights if they refuse a vaccine, its CEO said.

"Any person joining Delta in the future, a future employee, we're going to mandate they be vaccinated before they can sign up with the company," CEO Ed Bastian told CNN on Thursday.

Bastian said "well over" 60% of Delta employees already had at least one shot and he expected that up to 80% of all workers would be vaccinated eventually.

He said unvaccinated employees would "probably" be prevented from working on international flights, because destination countries might require people to be vaccinated to enter.

In March, Delta said it would offer daily flights to Iceland from Boston, New York, and Minneapolis starting in May. United Airlines announced last month that it would offer flights this summer to Greece and Iceland for Americans who could prove they'd had a shot.

Employers have grappled with the question of whether to make vaccinations mandatory. Last month, a hospital in Houston said staff members who refused a vaccine could be fired unless they were exempt for religious or medical reasons.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employer vaccine requirements are legal and workers can be barred from the office if they refuse to get jabbed.

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