Delta Air Lines to charge unvaccinated employees monthly fee, CEO says

An Airbus A321 from the Delta fleet. (Delta Air Lines file photo)

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says that it plans to charge unvaccinated employees $200 a month to "address the financial risk" their choice has for the company.

In a memo posted Wednesday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced new actions the airline will be taking to help increase vaccination rates in the company and combat COVID-19.

In total, Bastian says that 75% of employees have been vaccinated since the pandemic's start.

"Since the earliest days of the pandemic, our No. 1 priority has always been to protect our people and customers," he said. "Over the past 18 months, we have invested heavily in cleanliness, personal protective equipment, testing, and – most importantly – vaccines."

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Employees that have not been fully vaccinated will be required to wear masks indoors effective immediately. On Sept. 12, the company will require unvaccinated employees to take a COVID-19 test weekly.

Starting Nov. 1, employees who use Delta's account-based healthcare plan and are not fully vaccinated will be charged a $200 monthly fee, Bastian said, arguing that the average hospital stay has cost the company $40,000 per person.

"This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company," he said. "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."

The company's decision comes days after the FDA announced it has fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

"The time for you to get vaccinated is now," Bastian said.

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