CEO Says All Employees Recently Hospitalized For COVID Were Not Fully VaccinatedBy WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Delta Air Lines says employees who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 will be subject to a $200 monthly surcharge beginning this fall, citing costs for hospitalization.

According to a memo posted by Delta CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday, the surcharge will affect unvaccinated employees who are enrolled in Delta’s account-based health care plan. The surcharge will be implemented Nov. 1.

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Bastian says the surcharge is necessary to address the “financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company.” An average hospital stay for the virus costs the company $50,000 per person, Bastian noted.

Bastian said all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in recent weeks were not fully vaccinated against the virus.

“While we can be proud of our 75% vaccination rate, the aggressiveness of the variant means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100% as possible,” Bastian said.

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Additionally, unvaccinated employees are immediately required to wear masks in all indoor work settings. Starting Sept. 12, any U.S. employee not fully vaccinated will need to take a COVID-19 test weekly while community case rates are high.

On Sept. 30, COVID-19 pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection.

Bastian says he knows that many employees have been waiting for the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

“With this week’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time for you to get vaccinated is now. We can be confident that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, and has undergone the same rigorous review for other approved medications to treat cancer and heart disease, as well as other vaccines,” Bastian said.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is Delta’s second-largest hub.