The White House announced on Monday that it would finally lift COVID-19 vaccine rules for international foreign air travellers, as well as federal employees and contractors, from the end of day on May 11.
The reason that the Biden administration isn’t lifting the vaccination rule immediately is because it will take place on the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency is set to end.
The United States has become an international outlier in still requiring foreign travellers to prove they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while successive governments around the world rolled back all pandemic-era restrictions.
The vaccination requirement was introduced in October 2021, and at the time, it allowed the Biden administration to reopen the U.S. to foreign visitors who had been shut out since early 2020.
Since then, however, the vaccination requirement held firm while other countries eased and eventually abolished their own pandemic entry rules.
Justifying its decision to only lift vaccination rules now, the White House said that COVID-19 deaths have declined by 95 percent and hospitalizations are down nearly 91 percent.
“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary,” a statement from the White House explained.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.