All new hires at Alaska Airlines must be vaccinated against COVID-19, company says

New hires at Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before joining the company, Alaska Airlines said Thursday.

In addition, unvaccinated employees at both airlines will have to take part in a vaccine education program and be tested for COVID-19 as part of new safety measures, the statement said. Unvaccinated employees will no longer have access to special COVID-19 pay for time off due to exposure or infection.

Alaska Airlines’ new vaccine policy comes after other airlines, including United and Hawaiian Airlines, have mandated vaccines for employees. Delta Air Lines said last month that it will charge employees on the company health plan $200 a month if they fail to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Three Alaska Airlines employees died with the virus within the span of a month, the Seattle Times reported in August.

“We believe having as many people as possible vaccinated is the ... best path for protection against COVID-19 and we will continue to strongly encourage our employees to be vaccinated,” the company said.

Alaska Airlines said 75% of employees from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air who have shared their vaccination status said they are vaccinated.

Employees who show proof of vaccination by Oct. 15 will get $200, and testing protocols will begin Nov. 1, an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said.