Delta has increased its employee vaccination rate to 82% in the three weeks since announcing a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge for unvaccinated workers, Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting said in an interview with CNN.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Delta has worked to prioritize its employees and customers by making immunizations widely available.
This, combined with financial incentives like an extra day of paid time off and $100 in health rewards, enabled Delta to vaccinate over 70% of its employees by June 2021.
Delta swiftly improved their staff vaccination rate to 74% by holding an employee lottery and awarding over $1 million to immunized employees.
During the interview on Wednesday, CNN host John Berman posed an intriguing question: “Why not demand it?”
“We understand how to keep our personnel and consumers safe,” Dr. Ting said.
Dr. Ting mentioned existing layers of safety onboard aircraft, such as required masks and hospital-grade air filtration.
Furthermore, a recent real-world study conducted by Delta in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and the Georgia Department of Health showed that the chance of exposure to COVID-19 while traveling is less than 0.1 percent if all passengers test negative 72 hours before your trip.
When combined with existing levels of protection, the probability of transmission between the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, is less than one in one million. These figures will only get better if immunization rates rise.
Delta has achieved remarkable progress without a mandate and realizes that more work remains to be done.
These additional steps are intended to increase the airline’s vaccine rates and ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of its employees and customers, without forcing existing employees – many of whom have been with the airline since before the COVID-19 pandemic – to choose between being vaccinated and keeping their job.
Delta has always followed science to keep its customers and staff safe while putting their principles at the forefront of every decision.
Dr. Ting stated in a recent media briefing with the Infectious Diseases Society of America that Delta believes in the importance of vaccinations to save lives – and that the airline will continue to educate, advocate, and communicate with unvaccinated employees to expedite their timeline and get them vaccinated.