Buttigieg: No need for mandatory vaccinations on US flights

Despite a recent push by dozens of lawmakers to increase U.S. vaccination requirements on domestic flights, prospects for a federal mandate look slim.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that strategies other than vaccine mandates — such as requiring masks and vaccinating tourism workers — -”very effective”.The Transportation Security Administration has extended federal mask authorizations for airplanes, airports, trains, and other mass transit through January 18, 2022.
Host Chuck Todd pressed Buttigieg on the issue, questioning whether he was nervous about crafting a politically divisive policy.The TSA is expected to screen about 20 million people at the start of the busy Thanksgiving holiday.Meanwhile, daily reported cases of the new coronavirus in the U.S. rose 12 percent over the past week, according to The Washington Post.
“Continuing to have some sort of loophole to avoid a vaccine seems to prolong the pandemic if we’re trying to end this pandemic,” Todd said.
“Between cover-ups and other mitigations, we’re very confident in the safety of air travel and general travel in this country,” he said.
After banning travel from much of the world from March 2020, the U.S. reopened earlier this month to foreign tourists as long as they were vaccinated and tested negative.Buttigieg said international tourists will need to show proof of vaccination “because different countries have different standards.”
In a letter to Biden earlier this month, lawmakers praised the vaccine mandate for international travelers that just went into effect.They called the domestic version – which requires proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test – “necessary and long overdue”.
“Applying similar strategies to domestic air travel will ensure that Americans can safely visit loved ones during the holidays, while also limiting family introductions and the spread of covid-19,” the letter said.
Among the 36 Democrats who signed: California Sen. Diane Feinstein and Virginia Rep. Don Byer.Both have filed legislation seeking similar requirements.
Airline executives have said domestic authorization of a vaccine for flights would be “logistically impractical” and “very cumbersome”.
Anthony S. Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser, has said that if the president wants to implement a domestically flown vaccine authorization, he would support it.But last month, he told CNN he didn’t think that would happen anytime soon.
“On the table is the issue of vaccine authorization,” he said.”It’s always talkable, we always end up talking about it, but now I don’t see it right away.”
UPDATE: A surge in infections in Western Europe, fueled by a sub-variant of the omicron dubbed BA.2, has experts and health authorities on alert for another wave of the pandemic in the United States.Check out the latest coronavirus numbers and how omicron variants are spreading globally.
Home tests: Here’s how to use home covid tests, where to find them, and how they differ from PCR tests.
Mask Guidance: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has relaxed its mask recommendations for the vast majority of the country.The change comes after most Democratic governors eased restrictions amid a sharp drop in case numbers and public pressure.

Post time: Mar-18-2022