October 1, 2021
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The White House is pressing major U.S. airlines to mandate vaccines for employees by Dec. 8, four sources told Reuters on Friday.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients spoke to the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday to ensure they were working expeditiously to develop and enforce vaccine requirements ahead of a Dec. 8 deadline for federal contractors, the sources said.
Some airline officials had asked the White House to push back the requirements, signed by President Joe Biden last month, until after the busy holiday travel season.
Zients urged the airlines “to act sooner than later to ensure as smooth of an implementation process as possible,” one source said, and urged them to look at United Airlines vaccine requirement that was announced in August.
The three airlines separately confirmed the calls took place but declined to discuss the specifics. Zients did not respond to a request for comment on the calls.
The Biden administration notified carriers on Thursday it would seek a modification of those CRAF contracts to require vaccinations of airline employees.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Mark Porter and Howard Goller)
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