A bill currently before the U.S. House of Representatives would ban travelers from all U.S. flights unless they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) introduced HR4980 on Aug. 6. The bill now sits before the House Committee on Homeland Security for review.
Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) co-sponsored the bill.
If passed, the bill would direct Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to “ensure that any individual traveling on a flight that departs from or arrives to an airport inside the United States or a territory of the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and for other purposes.”
Exceptions would include any individual who is “ineligible or medically unable to be fully vaccinated” against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
The bill defines “fully vaccinated” as receiving all recommended doses of a COVID-19 injection authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In an Aug. 5 letter to Mayorkas and David Pekoske, Administrator of the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), Torres wrote that it is in “the best interest of public health that DHS and TSA do everything in their power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to promote vaccination.”
Torres added that a vaccine mandate would “encourage more Americans to get vaccinated, which will save many more lives.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there have been more than 348 million COVID-19 shots administered within the United States since the rollout of the vaccine began in December 2020 under President Donald Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed.”
More than 192 million Americans have had at least one dose, while an estimated 41.7 percent remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus and Delta variant, according to the CDC.
Currently, TSA mandates all passengers aboard a commuter flight wear a mask as a precaution against transmission of the CCP virus.
“As the United States faces another surge of COVID-19 cases, I believe it is paramount for DHS and TSA to require this commonsense step for passengers who are eligible to be vaccinated. These vaccines are clearly safe and effective,” Torres said.
Although the CDC states that reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare, the agency has received nearly 7,000 reports of people dying who received the vaccine and many thousands more reports of serious injuries believed to be associated with the shots.
A grass roots petition asks U.S. lawmakers to reject HR4980 as it would discriminate against “millions of people” in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Teresa Shelton started the petition at change.org. The effort has garnered over 52,000 signatures toward a goal of 75,000.