We don’t wade into pandemic talk too often here at AirlineReporter. This place is our escape from pandemic-related troubles, and we hope it is for you all too. But every once in a while our radar picks up a news update that’s hard to ignore.
United made big waves last year by being the largest major airline to mandate vaccination for all its employees. My day job as a hospital-based medical resident in New York City has shown me firsthand how powerful vaccination can be in saving lives. So consider me very pro-vaccination. Still I imagine it isn’t easy for leaders of large organizations to impose mandates, even when they’re confident it’s the right thing to do.
Earlier this month United CEO Scott Kirby published a letter to United employees for the New Year. In it, he mentioned that thanks in large part to the vaccine mandate, the company has zero employees admitted to a hospital with COVID, despite 3,000 employees currently positive for the virus. That was compared to the pre-mandate days, when more than one employee a week was dying, not to mention the others who were in the hospital with severe infections. It’s a huge win for employees’ health, and also for the airline’s passengers in terms of reduction in viral exposure.
I can’t imagine a more powerful data point to support vaccination in the air travel workforce. As someone who has seen a lot of people die of the virus right in front of me, I’m grateful to United and any other airline that makes bold choices for the sake of health and safety. And my particular thanks to the airline employees and other workers getting vaccinated and keeping our air travel infrastructure going during these crazy times. Hopefully thanks to public health measures like vaccination, I’m more likely to see you in the skies than in my hospital.
We welcome you to share thoughts in the comments section below. Please keep things civil. Debate about employee vaccination mandates is reasonable as part of a free discourse, but do not post frank pseudoscience.