Delta Air Lines: All unvaccinated staff will be charged extra $200 for health insurance monthly

  • Delta to charge unvaccinated employees extra for health benefits.
  • Delta’s new health insurance policy kicks in on November 1.
  • Average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person.

Delta Air Lines announced today that all airline employees who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to pay extra $200 per month for health insurance coverage.

Delta Air Lines CEO’s memo to staff said the “surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company.”

According to Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian , the “average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person” and “in recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.”

Although 75% of Delta Air Lines employees are vaccinated against the virus, Bastian argued that the “aggressiveness” of COVID-19’s Delta variant “means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100 percent as possible.” 

The changes will come into effect from November 1, while, from September 12, unvaccinated employees will also have to take weekly COVID-19 tests. Unvaccinated employees must additionally wear face masks indoors.

Public and industry reaction to the airline’s decision was mixed. Some praised Delta’s decision, saying it was an “appropriate” way to encourage vaccination and could make “a real difference.”

Others, however, warned that it could set a bad precedent claiming that the decision was ultimately based on financial greed, not concern for the public.

Other airlines, including United Airlines, Air Canada and Australia’s Qantas, are making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for employees.

Earlier this month, United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart told staff that, while they know some employees would disagree with the decision, “everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.” 

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