[Editorial] US should mandate vaccines for domestic flights


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Miranda Sirota, Editor-in-Chief

The latest coronavirus variant Omicron has spread rapidly throughout the world at a more infectious rate than the previous variants. As of Jan. 3, 2022, the U.S. hit a record-breaking number of over 1,000,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in a single day. However, there has not been an extreme surge in death rates, which leads to the presumption that Omicron supposedly produces milder symptoms, especially within vaccinated individuals.

In a recent interview with MSNBC, Dr. Anthony Fauci commented, “When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated.” The U.S. has already seen many kinds of vaccine requirements from places such as universities, restaurants, and even for workers in the healthcare industry and some airlines.

In the same interview, Fauci was questioned whether or not he believed the U.S. should enforce a vaccine mandate for boarding domestic flights. Ultimately, he believed it was something that should be considered.

Travel of any sorts has been one of the biggest contributors to the spread of COVID-19, turning a virus into a pandemic. People who are unknowingly sick will travel from one place to another, spreading COVID to others around them, and so on. We most likely saw this recent spike in cases because of the number of people that traveled to visit friends and family over the holidays.

According to an interview with Bloomberg, airplane passengers are at least twice as likely to catch COVID because of the Omicron strand. David Powel, the International Air Transport Association’s medical adviser, even stated that being vaccinated with the booster shot is more beneficial for your health than not flying at all.

The vaccine has been proven time and time again to be safe and efficient. The New England Journal of Medicine did a study back in 2020, concluding that two doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate against the virus.

Though the U.S. has shown no further thought or action, creating a vaccine mandate for boarding domestic flights could be a key factor in greatly reducing transmission of the virus from passenger to passenger. With the continuation of new variants surfacing, wearing a mask simply isn’t enough. Greater steps need to be taken in order to create a safer environment for everyone to fly safely, without much worry.