Full coronavirus vaccine coverage for passengers could soon be compulsory on domestic flights in the United States under proposed legislation being introduced to Congress.
Under the US Air Travel Public Safety Act, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Aviation Administration would be required to develop guidelines for airlines to check passengers vaccination status or confirm they had tested negative for coronavirus.
Senator Diane Feinstein, the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation was necessary to ensure the millions of airline passengers aren’t spreading the disease, particularly when young children remain ineligible to be vaccinated.
“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,” Senator Feinstein, of California, said.
“Ensuring that air travellers 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,” she said.
Similar requirements are already in place for foreign flights, and passengers coming into the United States must show proof of vaccination.
Several airlines require their staff to be fully vaccinated.
White House chief Covid adviser Anthony Fauci has previously said he would support a vaccine mandate for air travel.
Sen. Feinstein’s proposal comes after a bill introduced by Representative Don Beyer earlier this month that would require proof that airline and Amtrak travelers had been vaccinated or test negative.
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