An estimated 4.2 million people will be flying during the next few weeks as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, and some congressional Democrats want them all to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
More than 30 congressional Democrats sent President Joe Biden a letter asking that the federal government require airline passengers to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus before flying, or at least have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
Democrats told Biden in the letter sent on Nov. 11 that adopting domestic vaccine requirements similar to the ones required for international travelers coming to the U.S. would be an important step in preventing the spread of the virus.
“This is a necessary and long overdue step toward ensuring all Americans feel safe and confident while traveling and reduce the chances of yet another devastating winter surge,” the Democrats wrote in the letter.
In October, the Biden administration announced that international travelers coming to the U.S. will have to show proof they are fully vaccinated before they can enter the country.
Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi, and Rep. John Katko, New York, sent Biden a letter expressing concern that the administration’s vaccine requirement for federal employees would leave airports short of TSA employees during the holidays and beyond.
“Unfortunately, it appears TSA is headed toward a scenario in which up to 40 percent of its workforce may not be compliant with the President’s Executive Order by the November 8 deadline. Such a scenario could have severe impacts on transportation security and the aviation, travel, and tourism industries,” the members wrote.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that it’s “not too late” for people traveling during the holidays to help prevent the spread of the virus by wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds.
Fauci said families with all members fully vaccinated can “feel good” about gathering for the holidays.
More than 195 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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