San Francisco International Airport first in US to require vaccinated workers

San Francisco International Airport is now the first U.S. airport to require all workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
San Francisco International Airport is now the first U.S. airport to require all workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

San Francisco International Airport is now the first U.S. airport to require all workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and airport officials announced on Tuesday.

The vaccine mandate went into effect immediately on Tuesday and required all airline staff and on-site employees of SFO tenants and contractors to be fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt due to medical or religious reasons. Those exempt from the vaccine will have to test for COVID-19 every week.

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"We know that vaccines are the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 transmission and reduce hospitalizations and deaths," Breed said in a statement. "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."

SFO currently offers free vaccines at the SFO medical clinic and has rapid tests for travelers.

Employers are required to report vaccination status of all employees until the whole workforce is fully vaccinated, as well as weekly COVID-19 test results for those who are exempt.

"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 in a statement.

Those who fail to comply could be fined, officials said.