Bastian acknowledged that there are vaccine requirements for federal contractors by Dec. 8 and that Delta is a federal contractor. He has said Delta will follow any executive order requirements, and said “we’re going to have our employees vaccinated by then.”
“My point is I’m saying the mandates are not the only way to get people vaccinated,” the CEO said. “The issue is around personal choice.”
Bastian acknowledged during a conference call Wednesday with investors that “undoubtedly there will be a small number of people that will not be vaccinated.” He estimated that after exemptions, it would be roughly 1-2% of employees, “and we’ll have to assess that when the time comes.”
But, he said, “right now I think we’re fully in line with the intent” of the executive order for federal contractors.
Bastian added that Delta is “not philosophically opposed to mandates,” noting that Delta has been requiring new hires to be vaccinated since May, and has hired more than 8,000 people so far this year.
But he added that “mandates have become a political and polarizing term.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp threatened last month to go to court to block President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine requirements.