Airplanes on a runway at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). SFO, located at 780 McDonnell Rd, San Francisco, Calif., is an enterprise department of the City and County of San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of SFO)

All workers at San Francisco International Airport must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 effective immediately, airport officials and San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday.

The new requirement is the first in the nation for an airport, according to Breed’s office.

“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.”

Airport Director Ivar Satero said, “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.”

The new rule applies to all airlines staff, service workers, concession employees, and construction workers. Free vaccines are available to workers at the SFO Medical Clinic.

Some employees could be exempt from the rule for medical or religious reasons. The exempt employees, however, will be required to get tested for COVID-19 weekly.

Failure to comply with the new rules could result in fines, city officials said.