Southwest is latest airline to mandate vaccines for workers

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Southwest Airlines has become the latest U.S. airline to say that it will require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

DALLAS — Southwest Airlines on Monday became the latest U.S. airline to require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Dallas-based company said its workers must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 in order to remain at the airline. Employees can seek approval to skip the shots due to medical or religious reasons.

Last week, rivals American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue told their staff they needed to be vaccinated. United Airlines in August was the first major airline to do so and has since said that more than 97% of its workers have been vaccinated. United also said it would put staff who couldn’t get the shots due to medical or religious reasons on unpaid leave until COVID-19 rates go down.

Southwest has 54,000 employees.