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San Francisco International is first airport to require workers get COVID-19 vaccine

San Francisco International is first airport to require workers get COVID-19 vaccine
A couple pushes baggage toward the International Terminal at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on March 19, 2020. The airport said all workers must now be vaccinated against COVID-19. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- San Francisco International Airport became the first airport to require all workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday, the city announced.

The new rules require on-site personnel to be either vaccinated or, if exempt, to be tested weekly for the novel coronavirus.

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"We know that vaccines are the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 transmission and reduce hospitalizations and deaths," Mayor London Breed said. "This new requirement supports our aggressive measures to protect the health and safety of our region and our continued economic recovery. I want to thank SFO for their continued leadership protecting our city and its visitors."

The airport offers free COVID-19 vaccines at the on-site SFO Medical Clinic as well as rapid testing at various airport locations. Workers can obtain exemptions for medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs.

"As SFO prepares for the upcoming holiday travel season, and the return of pre-pandemic passenger levels, we have an obligation to provide a safe airport facility for the traveling public and our on-site employees," airport Director Ivar Satero said. "According to the Centers for Disease Control, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission of COVID-19."

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Several businesses across the country have implemented similar rules for employees, including United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, while Delta Airlines is requiring all new hires to be vaccinated and is increasing health insurance premiums for existing employees who don't get the shot.

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