A new bill proposed in the U.S. Senate would require vaccines to be administered before passengers are allowed to board flights coming into or leaving from the United States. The bill, which is written by Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, would also require testing for all travelers entering the country through airports and seaports.
Senate Bill Proposes Vaccine, Testing Requirements for US Domestic Flights is a bill that was proposed in the US Senate. The bill would require all passengers to have a vaccination and provide blood or urine samples before boarding flights originating from within the United States. Read more in detail here: interstate travel covid.
COVID-related boarding restrictions, similar to those that currently apply to foreign travelers, may soon be imposed on domestic aviation passengers traveling inside the United States.
All domestic airline passengers would have to be completely vaccinated, fully recovered from, or have recently tested negative for COVID-19 before being permitted to board their aircraft, according to a bill presented in Congress on Wednesday.
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International passengers (including returning residents) entering the United States are already obliged to produce a negative COVID-19 test or evidence of previous recovery from COVID-19, while domestic travelers are presently exempt. Their only health-related requirement is that they wear masks at airports and on flights.
This proposed legislation, dubbed the “US Air Travel Public Safety Act,” was presented by California Senator Dianne Feinstein and has the backing of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Public Health Association.
The onset of the cold-weather season, as well as the spread of the highly infectious Delta form, make this an urgent issue. In a news statement, Feinstein said, “We know that aviation travel during the 2020 holiday season contributed to last winter’s catastrophic COVID-19 spike.” “That is something we just cannot allow to happen again.”
Several health professionals have previously voiced support for vaccination requirements for domestic fliers, according to USA Today. “I would advocate that if you want to go on a plane and travel with other people, you should get vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, said in a recent interview.
Vaccination is a critical strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and vaccination requirements in multiple settings are an important mechanism to boost vaccination rates, prevent infections and hospitalizations, and save lives, according to Barbara Alexander, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and professor of medicine and pathology at Duke University School of Medicine.
When asked about the Biden administration’s position on mandating vaccines for domestic air travel during a September briefing, White House COVID-19 response team coordinator Jeff Zients stated, “We’re not taking any measures off the table.” He also mentioned the government’s intention to increase the penalties for travelers who refuse to wear the federal mask requirement on flights and other public transit.
A guy taking the COVID-19 exam. (picture courtesy of zoranm/E+)
Airlines and industry organizations say that requiring vaccines and testing would wreak havoc on operations since airlines would be responsible for confirming the COVID-19 status of millions of passengers. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian stated in an interview with CBS This Morning at the end of August that such a move would “bottleneck the domestic travel system.”
The United States Travel Association released a comment on the topic in mid-September. “US Travel has always advocated for no forced vaccine requirements for domestic travel,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, executive vice president of public relations and policy at the group. “Such a regulation would be unjust and harmful to families with small children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.”
Of fact, all that is required to rebut that argument is the inclusion of an exemption provision for children who are not of vaccination age, which is already included in almost every vaccine requirement that has been implemented to far.
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