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Congress Puts Pressure on White House to Create Vaccine Mandate for Flights

A group of Democratic lawmakers wants the White House to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for everyone who wants to fly.
Throughout the pandemic, flyers have been required to wear a face covering when flying aboard commercial carriers.


Now, a group of Democratic members of Congress want to take it one step further by requiring all flyers to be vaccinated before boarding. In a letter to the White House, 36 legislators asked the president to create an inoculation mandate in order to travel aboard aircraft.


Lawmakers Argue Vaccine Requirement Would Help Flyers and Travel Industry

In their letter to President Joe Biden, the group cites the surge in travelers expected for the upcoming holiday season for the reason why flyers should be required to provide proof of vaccination. With the number of travelers expected to reach near pre-pandemic levels, the group says adopting similar requirements as international travel would help protect everyone traveling between Thanksgiving and the New Year.


“Many Americans remain reluctant to spending extended periods of time in enclosed public spaces due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure,” the group letter reads, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein along with Reps. Don Beyers and Ritchie Torres. “Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for domestic flights will help alleviate these concerns for traveling. Further, this type of COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirement has been endorsed by prominent voices in the public health community.”


Furthermore, the group says the adoption of a vaccine mandate for air travel would increase the national vaccination rate. Citing data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the letter notes more people would be willing to get inoculated if it were a requirement for air travel. United Airlines previously backed this idea, noting they would be prepared to request proof of vaccination from all flyers if necessary.

“The aviation industry has sustained $35 billion in losses in 2020,” the letter reads. “Recovery of these industries will only occur when American travelers are confident that they are safe during indoor activities, including when traveling, whether in airports or on the planes themselves.”


Although the Biden administration mentioned a vaccine mandate for air travel was under consideration, leaders were hesitant to outright support it. The federal face covering requirement for both airports and air travel have been extended through at least January 2022.


Request Follows Canadian Lead in Requiring Vaccination for Air Travel

If the U.S. were to move forward with a vaccine requirement for all air travel, they would be the second North American nation to do so. Effective Oct. 30, 2021, Canada set a rule requiring all air travelers to be fully vaccinated against the novel Coronavirus.

jr2442 November 26, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control updates the total cases and total deaths from Covid each week. Latest info shows a 98.4% Survival Rate for all ages in the entire U.S. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC has also said, “ High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus.” So if the survival rate is above 98%, and vaccinated people can still get the virus and infect others, what good is a vaccine that you will have to "boost" every six months?

Dublin_rfk November 22, 2021

Let's put a little HARD science (not consensus) on the table before any additional restrictions are placed on the American public. Let's have our legislators look at a few facts before they stampede to a microphone. Not only are the people who are flying are some of the healthiest, they are traveling in an environment where the air is highly filtered and they are from, entry of an airport until departure (escape) the most closely monitored for compliance of current legislative policies. In this environment of mandatory vaccinations, quarantines, mandatory testing and masks (of mostly questionable effectiveness) why not start leading by example !? Why not lead by having the government vaccination rate raised to the national average? 

Nitehawk November 19, 2021

I want to compare two very similar countries covid infection rates and mandates.  In Canada we have a per capita Covid-19 infection rate about 1/4th (7 per 100k compared to 29 per 100k) that of the United States.  In Canada there is a vaccination mandate for flights, restaurants, and social functions, plus a mask mandate for virtually all indoor spaces.  In Canada the vaccination rate is much higher than the US (77% vs 59%).  Vaccines work, and so do masks. 

ND Sol November 19, 2021

Less than 10% of Congress (and all of them being Democrats) does not equate to the headline, "Congress Puts Pressure on White House to Create Vaccine Mandate for Flights."