Delta's top priority is protecting our people. Since the start of the pandemic, we've invested resources to mount industry-leading safety measures in the operation, stand up new HR programs and resources, and launch a massive COVID-19 testing program to make testing easy, quick and free of cost to all employees.
As vaccines became available, we took an active role to ensure Delta employees and their families and friends had easy access to vaccines as soon as possible. We agreed with top scientific and medical experts that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 was – and remains – the best tool to end the pandemic and recover the business, restore our joy and reclaim our lives.
Together with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA), we mounted one of the largest mass vaccination sites in the state of Georgia and set up vaccine clinics in 16 of our domestic stations. Today, we are thrilled to announce we have reached an important milestone by reaching a 75% employee vaccination rate. We are one step closer to getting back to what we do best – connecting the world.
Unfortunately, the current aggressive B.1.617.2 (delta) variant presents a very real threat to the health of our employee population – particularly those who remain unvaccinated. Delta is now driving toward a 100% vaccination rate and implementing additional actions to encourage vaccinations.
Here's a closer look at the work we've done to protect our people, our customers and the communities that we serve as we work toward a common goal to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNPRECEDENTED TESTING OPTIONS FOR EMPLOYEES AND CUSTOMERS ALIKE
We launched an unprecedented employee testing program in May 2020 to make tests easy, quick and free of charge to our employees, while instilling confidence in our customers about travelling with Delta. Together with CVS Health, Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics, we worked to make both at-home and onsite testing options free of charge to our employees, so they could test up to once a week without hassle. To date, Delta has administered more than 389,000 free COVID-19 tests to our employees.
EMPLOYEE HEALTH PROTECTION
At the onset of the pandemic, we were quick to introduce full pay protection to employees who experienced symptoms, tested positive or had been exposed to others who had tested positive. We also offered paid leave for our employees at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 so they could take themselves out of the workforce without worry.
DELTA'S FIRST CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER AND PARTNERSHIPS WITH MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS
We welcomed world-renowned cardiologist and Mayo Clinic leader Dr. Henry Ting to our team – a first for any U.S. airline. Dr. Ting served as our primary COVID-19 adviser since the start of the pandemic and played a significant role in helping to guide our actions to best protect our people and customers. The integration of a Chief Health Officer is critical to our ability to maintain industry-leading standards of health and cleanliness and continues to fuel our people-first approach. Dr. Ting serves as a key resource for our divisions and leaders, providing individual and enterprise-level guidance as we navigate this health crisis.
Delta also forged ongoing partnerships last year with Mayo Clinic, Emory University and Reckitt, the makers of Lysol Pro Solutions®, and continues to work closely with them to review the latest science and enhance or adjust protocols accordingly. We also continue to leverage expert guidance and work with local, state and federal public health officials to keep our people and customers safe.
EASE OF ACCESS TO VACCINES
Starting in February 2021, we converted the Delta Flight Museum and parking lot at Delta headquarters into a mass vaccination site. Partnering with the Georgia Department of Emergency Management and local and state authorities, Delta housed the state's largest mass vaccination site, administering nearly 35% of Georgia's total vaccine doses. The Delta Flight Museum significantly accelerated Georgia's vaccination efforts and provided convenient access for employees and communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. DFM and Delta+CVS clinics across the country have administered more than 150,000 doses to state residents, employees, and friends and family.
Beyond Atlanta, Delta and CVS Health have operated 30 sites within 16 stations in the U.S. – with more mobile clinics to come. We are doing everything possible to reach employees where they work to make vaccines as accessible as possible for our people.
AN ONGOING COMMITMENT TO THE DELTA CARESTANDARD
In our airports and on board, we implemented comprehensive layers of protection throughout the travel journey to prioritize the health of our employees and customers above all else. Based on expert medical advice and customer feedback, we established a Global Cleanliness Division to raise the bar on cleaning and to ensure we were constantly innovating to protect our people as the pandemic evolved. We deployed clean ambassadors to ensure a consistently safe and sanitized experience at more than 55 airports.
On board, we put people before profit by creating more peace of mind for our passengers, blocking middle seats and limiting capacity across all cabins. This remained in place through April 2021 – months longer than any other airline.
WIN BIG GIVEAWAY AND OTHER INCENTIVES
To incentivize vaccinations in the midst of a busy summer operations season, we rewarded U.S. employees who received at least one dose through an awards program to give away $1 million in a weekly employee raffle. We partnered with our leaders to recognize and celebrate the employees who helped protect themselves and our people. We also rewarded all vaccinated employees with an additional PPT day and $50 in Health Rewards.
THE VARIANT HAS CHANGED THE GAME
We are pleased to recognize the more than 60,000 employees who have already opted to get vaccinated, without a company-wide mandate. While 75% employee vaccinations is a significant milestone, the fight is not over. The current B1.617.2 delta variant is the most aggressive variant of the virus and cases are once again rising across the country. This is why we are taking additional, robust actions to encourage employee vaccinations through masking, regular testing and a medical premium surcharge.