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United Airlines is mandating that all U.S.-based employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 25 at the latest or risk termination.
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Employees will be required to prove that they have had the appropriate number of doses for either the Pfizer, Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine five weeks after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants full approval to any one vaccine or five weeks after Sept. 20 —"whichever comes first," United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart said in a Friday memo reviewed by FOX Business.
To date, the FDA has only granted emergency-use approval of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
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The "latest potential deadline" for meeting this requirement is Oct. 25, according to the memo. However, Kirby and Hart, citing media reports, said the FDA is "likely to announce" its full approval for the vaccine as soon as next month, "so the earlier timeline is more likely."
Each employee will have to send an image of their vaccine card to the company. Employees that are already inoculated and are able to upload proof of vaccination before Sept. 20 will be eligible for "an additional day of pay," Kirby and Hart added.
Those who don’t will be terminated, with exemptions granted only for religious or health reasons, officials said.
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"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," the memo read.
United— which has approximately 67,000 employees in the U.S. – is just one of a growing number of big corporations that are trying to combat the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is fueling a surge in infections.
However, it's the first major U.S. airline to announce it will require vaccination for workers. The airline has been requiring vaccination of new hires since mid-June. Unvaccinated workers are required to wear face masks at company offices.
A United executive said the airline has no plans to require that passengers be vaccinated, calling that a government decision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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