United CEO says 3,000 employees have COVID, credits vaccine requirement for lack of deaths

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FILE – In this July 18, 2018, file photo a United Airlines commercial jet sits at a gate at Terminal C of Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

CHICAGO (WBTW) – In a letter to employees, the CEO of United Airlines said the company’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement is saving the lives of its employees.

In the letter dated Jan. 11, Scott Kirby wrote hospitalization rates among employees have been 100 times lower than the United States average since the requirement went into effect. He added that before the vaccine requirement, more than one employee per week was dying from COVID-19.

Now, the company has gone eight straight weeks without a COVID-19 death among a vaccinated employee, Kirby wrote.

Kirby wrote that based on nationwide data, the company’s vaccine requirement has saved the lives of eight to 10 United employees.

“In dealing with COVID, zero is the word that matters — zero deaths and zero hospitalizations for vaccinated employees,” Kirby wrote. “And while I know that some people still disagree with our policy, United is proving that requiring the vaccine is the right thing to do because it saves lives.”

Kirby added that there are about 3,000 employees currently positive for COVID-19, but none of them are hospitalized.

In one day at Newark International Airport, one-third of United Airlines’ employees were out sick, Kirby wrote.

United Airlines will also reduce near-term schedules to help minimize disruptions from employees calling out sick in hopes to allow passengers to get on other flights with similar arrival times, according to the letter. Kirby thanked employees for their work in minimizing disruptions and wished those currently out sick a speedy recovery.

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