US to End Covid-19 Vaccine Requirements for International Air Travelers
The United States will be lifting Covid-19 vaccine requirements for federal employees, federal contractors, and international air travelers on May 11, according to a recent announcement of the US White House.
The decision to end vaccine requirements for international air travelers was welcomed welcomed by the US Travel Association.
“The action to lift the vaccine requirement eases a significant entry barrier for many global travelers, moving our industry and country forward,” the association’s president and CEO, Geoff Freeman, said in a statement.
However, Freeman also urged the US government to ensure that local airports and other ports of entry are appropriately staffed with Customs and Border Protection officers to meet the growing demand for entry.
The decision comes after the US government decided to shift its focus towards encouraging Americans to get vaccinated and combating vaccine hesitancy.
Since January 2021, Covid-19 deaths in the US have declined by 95 percent and hospitalizations are down nearly 91 percent. Globally, Covid-19 deaths are at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic.
The US government had previously implemented vaccination requirements for its workforce to increase vaccination to achieve 98 percent compliance, reflecting employees who had received at least one dose of a vaccine or had a pending or approved exception or extension request filed by January 2022.
The requirements also applied to certain international travelers to slow the spread of new variants entering the country and to allow the healthcare system time to manage access to care if faced with an increase in cases and hospitalizations.
According to the White House announcement, the federal government in the US will also start the process to end vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, CMS-certified healthcare facilities, and certain noncitizens at the land border.