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The airlines will first start vaccinating employees in Chicago.

By Alison Fox
March 04, 2021
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A pair of U.S. airlines will start vaccinating employees against COVID-19 with the recently-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine, kicking off with their staff in Chicago.

Both American Airlines and United Airlines will begin inoculating Windy City employees with the single-dose shot as early as Thursday, according to the airlines.

For American Airlines, the vaccine is being provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health to distribute at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the carrier told Travel + Leisure.

United Airlines plane
Credit: United Airlines

"We're incredibly proud of the essential work our team members have been doing throughout the pandemic, and we're thrilled to [be] able to provide COVID-19 vaccination opportunities for our team at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) starting this week," an American Airlines spokeswoman told T L. "As we continue to work tirelessly to connect team members across our operation with vaccines as soon as possible, we're grateful to Mayor Lightfoot and our partners at the Chicago Department of Public Health and Premise Health who've helped make this happen for the American Airlines team in Chicago."

For United, the vaccine will be distributed in partnership with the city and the local health department and will be available by reservation for employees who live or work in Chicago as flight crew or who are over 65 years old, the airline confirmed to T+L. It's likely just the first step for the carrier, which may eventually make the vaccine mandatory for employees.

The airlines aren't the only U.S. carriers that have made vaccines a priority. In February, Reuters reported Delta Air Lines started vaccinating eligible employees at its Atlanta hub. And the airline even opened a mass vaccination site for eligible Georgians at its Delta Flight Museum.

Several international airlines have also made efforts to vaccinate their crew, including Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways, which in February became the first airline in the world to vaccinate 100% of its pilots and cabin crew.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.