White House is Considering Requiring Vaccination to Fly; Will be Mandated For International Flights; Canada Already Has One
Vaccination Requirement To Fly
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 11, 2021) - White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients has confirmed that he and his pandemic task force are considering requiring those wishing to fly to be vaccinated as a further acceleration of President Joe Biden's new tactic of pressuring, not just asking, Americans to get vaccinated.
This is very likely to occur because proof of vaccination will soon be a de facto requirement for international flights, and Canada has already adopted such a requirement, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who proposed this tactic to Biden's COVID advisors weeks ago - along with suggestions for using his executive authority over grants, and to require vaccination of federal workers, both of which have now occurred.
The need for this new tactic is very strong, since Biden's proposal to have OSHA order all companies with 100 or more workers to require them to be vaccinated or undergo periodic tests is about to be challenged in the courts, and injunctions against it becoming effective are likely for at least two reasons, explains the law professor.
First, challengers get to choose the court in which the challenges will be filed, and they can and certainly will selected jurisdictions where they are most likely to find a sympathetic judge.
Second, challengers can get as many bites to the apple as they wish, since even rulings by a dozen or more courts which refuse to issue a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction can be trumped by any other judge in the future who is convinced by the mandate's challengers.
Below is a copy of the email Banzhaf recently sent to many of Biden's key COVID advisors explaining his proposal, and why it almost certainly will come into effect on way or another, followed by an analysis of Biden's failure to announce such a step this week.
An Alternative [SEE BELOW] Proposal to Prevent More Needless Deaths From the New Surge
Since it has been announced that the White House is planning to mandate that foreign nationals be vaccinated to enter the U.S. once international travel restrictions are lifted, I would like to most respectfully suggest that the U.S. apply the same rule to returning U.S. citizens, and perhaps to domestic flights also. Here's why.
Even if the U.S. does not require vaccinations for its own returning citizens, the major countries to which they will be traveling will almost certainly adopt the same vaccination requirement for their arrival, so anyone who wants to fly internationally will soon have to provide proof of vaccination. The same argument and reason for such a requirement on international flights should also apply to domestic airline flights within the U.S.
Limiting flights to adults who are vaccinated (and to older children who are eligible) would reduce the transmission of the rapidly spreading delta variant, as well as other variants which may develop, and also provide a very strong incentive for holdouts to become vaccinated. Both effects would help prevent thousands of needless deaths, and many more very expensive hospitalizations, at a time when both are soaring.
If only passengers who have been fully vaccinated can fly, it would probably also be possible to eliminate the mask requirement on board, especially given the ventilation and filtration systems on modern passenger aircraft.
As more and more people are beginning to appreciate, it is very unfair to continue to burden the majority of adults who have wisely agreed to be vaccinated - in this case by requiring them to wear masks for hours while flying - because of the minority which refuse this common sense precaution.
While now we may have only an "epidemic of the unvaccinated," on airlines passengers who are vaccinated are being burdened for the stubbornness of the holdouts.
Requirements Already In Place For Air Travelers
Please note that international travelers are already required to undergo expensive and inconvenient tests for COVID just before both arrival and departure, and to prevent documented proof of such tests before boarding. So requiring documented proof regarding COVID safety is not unreasonable nor unreasonably burdensome on passengers or carriers.
Soon, even for domestic flights, flyers will have to go through the difficult and time-consuming process of obtaining a REAL-ID driver's license - even though the lives likely to be saved from such terrorist attacks are minimal given existing TSA measures.
And those who wish to travel abroad have for a long time had to endure the many problems of obtaining (and sometimes of renewing) a passport.
Compared to these burdens to which the federal government already subjects those who wish to fly (as well as the vaccination requirement on federal workers, onsite government contractors, and the active duty military) - not to mention the delays, hassles, inconvenience, and invasions of privacy from TSA check points - the burden of having to obtain a free and usually-no-waiting-time vaccination is minor, and certainly not unreasonable.
The federal government, and an ever growing number of employers, colleges, and places of public accommodation, are already requiring people to prove that they have been vaccinated, so it's not as if this is a novel or unreasonable requirement, especially given the new wave of unnecessary COVID deaths and hospitalizations.
Moreover, since trying to further refine or clarify the government's messaging on COVID seems to be about as ineffective as the government's messaging during the last century urging people not to smoke, we should now do what finally turned the tide and helped prevent millions of unnecessary smoker deaths by persuading tens of millions of American to protect their own health - by adopting restrictions aboard aircraft, and by permitting employers to insist upon it a s a condition of employment.
Thank you for your consideration, and taking the time to read this brief proposal.