At long last, the United States is scrapping the vaccination requirement for foreign travelers who enter the US by air. It’s about time.
Vaccination Requirement Ends For Foreign Travelers To USA Via Air
The Biden Administration is ending vaccine requirements for international air travelers as well as federal employees and contractors. On Monday, the White House released the following update, effective at the “end of day” on May 11, 2023:
Today, we are announcing that the Administration will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends. Additionally, HHS and DHS announced today that they will start the process to end their vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, CMS-certified healthcare facilities, and certain noncitizens at the land border. In the coming days, further details related to ending these requirements will be provided.
For reasons that View From The Wing articulated quite well, this move was long overdue. I am happy that those who opted against the vaccine will now be welcomed back to the United States.
I am vaccinated and boosted, so the issue is not at all that I am anti-vaccine, but our current vaccine formulas are targeted at a strain of COVID-19 that is no longer prevalent. As there now exists widespread vaccine access as well as treatment options for those who contract the virus, the need for strict vaccine requirements is no longer necessary. Furthermore, there were loopholes a mile long in terms of the US vaccine requirement (including entering via land from Canada or Mexico), making the whole vaccine requirement almost farcical. And the fact that only one jab of a bivalent vaccine was required further undermined the efficacy of the rule.
As the rest of the world has loosened up its own vaccine requirements, it is time the USA does the same. While a shame it was not immediate, but there is less than two weeks left a chapter in our history that was clouded by miscalculation and overreaction.
Effective May 11, 2023, the vaccination requirement for federal workers and foreign air visitors via air will be lifted. This policy change is long overdue.
One day I still will publish a retrospective on our fear-based approach to COVID-19. Even giving our government the benefit of the doubt, history will not judge our overreaction kindly. That impacts travel too…as the prohibitions against movement undermined the social contract and led to outcomes that can only be described as heinous. But we will save that debate for another time.