Biden administration is pushing major U.S. airlines to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees by Dec. 8, the same deadline for federal contractors.

Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, has spoken with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday regarding vaccine mandate ahead of Dec. 8.

Since most of the major U.S. airlines have contracts with the federal government, the Biden administration can also mandate these airlines to require vaccination for their employees. 

Last month, President Joe Biden signed two sweeping executive orders mandating COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers, federal workers and contractors.


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“Your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing,” Biden said at that time.

The major airlines, however, have been moving forward with the vaccine mandate already.

In August, even before the president ordered federal contractors to mandate vaccination, United Airlines announced it would require its workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by this fall.

However, not all airlines are prepared for this mandate. On Friday, American Airlines has revealed that it has more than 100,000 U.S.-based employees who need to get vaccinated ahead of the Dec. 8 deadline.

“While we are still working through the details of the federal requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines,” CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in a letter Friday. “We realize this federal mandate may be difficult, but it is what is required of our company, and we will comply.”

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