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Joe Biden Formally Ends Coronavirus Vaccine Requirement for Air Travel

Joe Biden on Tuesday formally ended his October 2021 decision to require coronavirus vaccines for non-citizen international travelers, determining that it is no longer needed.

In October 2021, Biden issued a proclamation adopting an air travel policy essentially requiring non-citizens visiting the U.S. to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the country.

The October 2021 proclamation read in part:

It suspends the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants, except in limited circumstances, and it ensures that the entry of unvaccinated noncitizen nonimmigrants is consistent with applicable health and safety determinations made by the Director of the CDC, including a requirement that, where appropriate, such individuals agree and arrange to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon their arrival.

On Tuesday, Biden issued “A Proclamation on Revoking the Air Travel COVID-⁠19 Vaccination Requirement,” essentially ending that requirement.

“Today, we are in a different phase of the response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic than we were in October 2021, when I issued Proclamation 10294 of October 25, 2021 (Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic),” his proclamation read in part, as Biden defended his previous proclamation putting the requirement in place.

After deeming his supposed mitigation efforts a resounding success and contending that guidance and investments have made it easier to respond to the virus, Biden said, with guidance from “public health experts,” that the international air travel restrictions are no longer needed.

“Globally, COVID-19 cases and deaths are at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic,” the proclamation read.

“As we continue to monitor the evolving state of COVID-19 and the emergence of virus variants, we have the tools to detect and respond to the potential emergence of a variant of high consequence,” it added.

The proclamation goes into effect May 12, 2023.

Biden’s decision comes well over two years after stating that he would not demand mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. Of course, Biden went on to push both vaccines as well as masking when he became president.

In fact, the Supreme Court in January 2022 nixed Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine mandate, which would have affected over 80 million workers. Months later, a federal judge struck down Biden’s ongoing mask mandate for public transportation, including air travel, after Biden refused to lift it after promising “just” 100 days of masking.

 

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