<p>The vaccine mandate has proved unpopular with a minority US airline staff</p>

The vaccine mandate has proved unpopular with a minority US airline staff

Pilot claims vaccine mandate forces him to choose between ‘feeding his family’ and freedom of choice

Airline staffer appears to have a sideline in fitness and nutritional advice

Lucy Thackray
Monday 11 October 2021 10:57
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A US pilot has made a TikTok video claiming his airline’s vaccine mandate amounts to an ultimatum between “feeding his family” and freedom of choice.

“I’ve been an airline pilot for 18 years and now I’m facing an ultimatum... I’m being told that in order to continue my career as an airline pilot, I must be vaccinated,” says the pilot, who uses the TikTok account @cellsaucenutrition, in the video.

“Which really means I have to choose between putting food on the table for my family and my freedom of choice.”

He appears to be a pilot with a sideline in fitness and nutritional advice - this is the only video the user has posted to do with being a pilot.

“Whether you believe vaccination is the right thing to do or not, the situation goes far beyond health,” the man, who does not give a name or the airline he works for on the account, goes on to say.

“Soon we will not remember what it felt like to have the freedoms we once did,” claims the TikTok user, suggesting that government mandates such as mask wearing and proof of vaccination means personal freedoms “are being stripped away”.

The video takes a dystopian turn when the man suggests that rules such as the vaccine mandate will lead to an age when “we’re told where to live, what job we can do, what religion to believe, and how many children we can have”.

At the end of the video, he gives a link to US Freedom Flyers, an anti-vaccination organisation that has sprung up in response to US federal laws around vaccination for airline workers.

All the major US airlines except for Delta now require their on-board employees to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 by a certain deadline, prompting grassroots groups such as US Freedom Flyers to spring up, with some taking legal action.

In September, President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring federal contractors to mandate full vaccination for employees - airlines are considered government contractors under Biden’s federal vaccine plan - while the White House set a deadline of 8 December for doing so.

The decision has caused outrage among anti-vaxxers in the country.

Last week a group of United Airlines staff asked a Texas federal judge to temporarily block the airline from firing them or placing them on leave for not being vaccinated.

However, the airline’s CEO Scott Kirby said in September that the amount of employees who have quit over the mandate is negligible, describing the number as “in the single digits”.

There’s no vaccine mandate for passengers in the US yet, though a recent survey found that six in 10 Americans (61 per cent) support having to show proof of full vaccination before getting on a plane.

“You have the freedoms of choice! Either you comply with your employer’s rules or you quit. The choice is yours!” commented one TikTok user on the video.

The Independent has contacted US Freedom Flyers for more information.

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