Feinstein Submits Bill to Mandate COVID Vaccine or Test for Domestic Flights

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has introduced a bill to require that travelers on domestic flights either be fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative, or have fully recovered after contracting COVID-19.

The U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act would mandate that the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Aviation Administration create a set of airline standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the 2021 winter season.

The act states that these standards should require passengers either provide proof of vaccination, proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or ”written or electronic documentation of recovery from COVID-19,” according to the text of the legislation.

”We know that air travel during the 2020 holiday season contributed to last winter’s devastating COVID-19 surge. We simply cannot allow that to happen again,” Feinstein said in a statement.

”Ensuring that air travelers protect themselves and their destination communities from this disease is critical to prevent the next surge, particularly if we confront new, more virulent variants of COVID-19.

”This bill complements similar travel requirements already in place for all air passengers — including Americans — who fly to the United States from foreign countries. This includes flights from foreign countries with lower COVID-19 rates than many U.S. states,” she continued.

”It only makes sense that we also ensure the millions of airline passengers that crisscross our country aren’t contributing to further transmission, especially as young children remain ineligible to be vaccinated.”

In a statement, Dr. Barbara Alexander, professor of medicine and pathology at Duke University School of Medicine and president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said that ”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.

“The Infectious Diseases Society of America supports Senator Feinstein’s legislation to require vaccination for domestic air travel as part of our nation’s broader COVID-19 vaccination strategy.” 

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