US plans to make vaccination mandatory for travellers

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No timeline has yet been determined, as interagency working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel, reports Asian Lite News

The Biden administration is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all foreign visitors to the US to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, a White House official said Wednesday.

The requirement would come as part of the administration’s phased approach to easing travel restrictions for foreign citizens to the country. No timeline has yet been determined, as interagency working groups study how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel. Eventually all foreign citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter the US

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the policy under development.

The Biden administration has kept in place travel restrictions that have severely curtailed international trips to the US, citing the spread of the delta variant of the virus. Under the rules, non-US residents who have been to China, the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India in the prior 14 days are prohibited from entering the US

All travellers to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of air travel to the country.

The Biden administration has faced pressure to lift some restrictions from affected allies, the air travel industry and families who have been kept separated from loved ones by the rules. Many have complained that the travel restrictions don’t reflect the current virus situation — particularly as conditions in the US are worse than in many of the prohibited nations.

American aversion to jabs

Most unvaccinated American adults don’t believe the Covid-19 vaccines are very effective and see the jabs as a greater health risk than the virus itself, a new survey has revealed.

A narrow majority (53 per cent) of unvaccinated adults believe the vaccine poses a bigger risk to their health than Covid-19 itself, while an overwhelming majority (88 per cent) of vaccinated adults say that getting infected withthe virus is a bigger risk to their health than the vaccine, Xinhua news agency quoted the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey published on Wednesday as saying.

Most (57 per cent) unvaccinated adults also say that the news has “generally exaggerated” the seriousness of the pandemic, while three-fourths of vaccinated adults say the news has been “generally correct” (53 per cent) or has “underestimated” its seriousness (24 per cent).

Among those who say they will “definitely not” get a vaccine, 75 per cent say the news is exaggerated.

“The sharply different views of the vaccinated and unvaccinated help to explain the contentiousness of ongoing policy debates about vaccine mandates,” said KFF in the report.

For example, vaccinated adults are far more likely than unvaccinated adults to say the federal government should recommend employers require vaccinations among their workers (68 per cent vs. 16 per cent).

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The public overall is split, with similar shares saying they think the federal government should recommend this (51 per cent) and should not (45 per cent).

Vaccinated adults also are more likely to say they wear masks in grocery stores and other indoor places (53 per cent vs. 44 per cent), at work (45 per cent vs. 35 per cent), or in crowded outdoor settings (45 per cent vs. 35 per cent).

“These differences are to a large degree driven by unvaccinated Republicans. Majorities of Republicans say they ‘never’ wear a mask outdoors in crowded outdoor places, at work, or in a grocery store. Democrats are more likely to report wearing a mask at least most of the time in all of these locations,” said KFF.

The health-focused no-nprofit group surveyed 1,500 US adults between July 15 and 27 for this chapter of its survey, and found little change among those with the most hardened attitudes about vaccination.

About 14 per cent of those surveyed say they will “definitely not” get vaccinated — the same proportion as in December 2020.

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