IBM and American Airlines have laid down strict deadlines for their workforce to get the jab. IBM and American Airlines employees have until December 8 and November 24 to receive their COVID shots.
In a report Thursday morning by Axios, fear was a powerful motivator for people getting their shot after US President Joe Biden announced his vaccine mandate policy last month. Since then, vaccination rates at "health care systems, schools, public-sector agencies and private businesses" jumped by 20 percent, with some employers surpassing the 90 percent mark.
Ninety-five million eligible Americans remained unvaccinated when Biden made his announcement last month. That number is down to 67 million today — and the federal rule for private businesses hasn't even been finalized yet.
Fox News laid out the situation at some of America's biggest employers. They have given their employees an ultimatum: either get the jab or be placed on an unpaid suspension. Some have threatened their employees with losing their jobs should they remain unvaccinated.
A letter by American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom showed how high the stakes are for many. "The federal vaccine mandate requires that all of American's US-based team members and certain international crew members be vaccinated, without the provision of a regular testing alternative," it reads. "While we are still working through the details of the federal requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines."
This wasn't the first push to get US airlines to mandate vaccines, with the Biden administration pushing for a mandate since the beginning of October. Now, it's about getting all the major airlines onboard. Southwest Airlines now joins American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and JetBlue in following the status quo.
In early August, American Airlines did not seek to implement a vaccine mandate under the threat of firing people. Instead, they offered monetary rewards.
Technology giant IBM confirmed with Fox News that an internal memo sent out to employees also dictated that anyone who wasn't fully vaccinated by December 8 would go on an "unpaid leave of absence." The company confirmed it would grant medical and religious exemptions to the policy, "regardless of where they work and how often they come into an IBM office," a spokesperson said in a statement.