Biden Admin Backs Down, Drops COVID Vaccine Mandate for Air Travelers, Fed. Workers

It appears the Biden Administration has ceded to increasing calls for an onerous COVID vaccine mandate to end for international air travelers, along with federal workers and contractors, according to USA Today.


This follows President Joe Biden signing, back in April, legislation that draws to a close the national coronavirus emergency on May 11, the publication reported on Monday.

The White House said the vaccination requirement would end for federal employees and contractors on May 11 when the national coronavirus emergency is also due to end. It also applies to international travelers.

“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,” the White House said.

They also hinted that more is on the way, with mandates ending at some point for other government agencies and programs, like “Head Start educators” and “Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services certified healthcare facilities.” Hidden among those items is the possibility that the requirement for vaccination from COVID could also be ended for “certain foreign nationals at the land border.”

But the part about foreign nationals coming by air could have been fixed sooner. Try … three months ago:

In February, the White House opposed a bill that would have terminated the vaccination requirement for foreign nationals arriving by air, saying the policy had helped control the spread of coronavirus. The administration pledged in a statement at the time to review the policy, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the end date for the public health emergency neared


As my colleague Bob Hoge wrote a few days ago, the CDC turned in that review on Thursday—basically, at the last moment. And instead of dropping the much-criticized vaccine requirement for foreign nationals flying into the U.S., they used weasel wording to only make it sound like they had. It’s one way they have of telling you they think you’re stupid.

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, took to the Twitters to praise the mandate being lifted, but rightly asked why Democrats chose to block it back in February:

He continued:

This begs the question: why did Senate Democrats block my bill, the Free Bird Act, which would have brought this relief sooner? It had passed the House, but Senate Democrats refused to let it move forward, even though they couldn’t articulate a good argument against it.

Take a look at a few things here, in the way the White House crafted this narrative. In order to give themselves cover for not doing the right thing until they absolutely had to, they created a fiction by making it about federal employees …and oh, by the way, we’ll drop it for air travelers, too. Also, remember that May 11 is a magical date Team Biden plucked out of thin air. It isn’t based on science or data about when the severe threat from coronavirus had passed. It was a political decision, plain and simple, and Americans’ health should never be at the mercy of politicians’ whims.


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