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Alaska Airlines requiring COVID-19 vaccines for new hires

All new Alaska Airlines employees must be vaccinated for COVID-19, and current employees will be paid $200 if they show proof of vaccination.

SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines implemented new COVID-19 vaccine requirements Thursday in an effort to boost vaccination rates at the company.

Although the Seattle-based company stopped short of requiring vaccinations for all its employees, new hires will be required to be vaccinated by their hire date.

Alaska Airlines will implement a testing protocol for all unvaccinated employees, and those employees must also participate in a vaccine education program. Unvaccinated employees will no longer be paid for quarantine time if they are exposed to or infected with COVID-19.

The airline will also pay employees $200 if they provide proof of vaccination.

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As of Friday, 75% of Alaska and Horizon employees who have shared their vaccine status are vaccinated, according to Alaska Airlines.

“This is good progress, but we have more work to do,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The new Alaska policy comes after several other airlines instituted mandates on unvaccinated employees.

In August, Delta Air Lines said it would charge unvaccinated employees on the company health plan $200 a month. United Airlines, along with Hawaiian Airlines, is requiring all its U.S. employees to get vaccinated. Frontier Airlines is also mandating vaccines, but unvaccinated employees can undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

Previously, Alaska said it would only consider a mandate once the Food and Drug Administration had given full approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer is the only vaccine to have received that status so far.

An Alaska spokesperson said Thursday the company has not yet made a decision on a vaccine requirement for current employees.