Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Wednesday proposed legislation which would require proof of a coronavirus vaccination or a negative coronavirus test in order to fly domestically ahead of the holiday season.
“We know that air travel during the 2020 holiday season contributed to last winter’s devastating COVID-19 surge. We simply cannot allow that to happen again,” Feinstein, 88, said in a statement.
Ensuring that air travelers protect themselves and their destination communities from this disease is critical to prevent the next surge, particularly if we confront new, more virulent variants of COVID-19. This bill complements similar travel requirements already in place for all air passengers – including Americans – who fly to the United States from foreign countries. This includes flights from foreign countries with lower COVID-19 rates than many U.S. states.
We can’t allow upcoming holiday air travel to contribute to another surge in COVID cases. Today I introduced legislation requiring passengers on domestic flights to be vaccinated, test negative or be fully recovered from a previous COVID illness.https://t.co/vVRHM5OiuV
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) September 29, 2021
“It only makes sense that we also ensure the millions of airline passengers that crisscross our country aren’t contributing to further transmission, especially as young children remain ineligible to be vaccinated,” the California Democrat added.
The bill has won the support of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Public Health Association, Feinstein said.
“Vaccination is a critical strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and vaccination requirements in multiple settings are an important mechanism to boost vaccination rates, prevent infections and hospitalizations and save lives,” Dr. Barbara D. Alexander, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said in a statement. “The Infectious Diseases Society of America supports Senator Feinstein’s legislation to require vaccination for domestic air travel as part of our nation’s broader COVID-19 vaccination strategy.”
The introduction of Feinstein’s bill comes as some airlines are getting ready to fire unvaccinated employees.
United Airlines said Wednesday it’s beginning the process to fire nearly 600 employees who have refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as required by the world’s third-largest carrier.
United said 99% of its employees have complied with the mandate, but noted that it’s run out of options in working with the remaining 593 who have not received the shot.
The UPI contributed to this report.