As countless comedians have observed, air travel is an intimate and chaotic experience: packed together with scores of other people, sitting as tightly as possible, we are truly up in each other's business. One thing we shouldn't be all up in, though, is COVID-19.
With air travel surging back just as the highly-infectious Omicron variant tears through communities, protecting each other is more important than ever. Tens of thousands of flights were cancelled this winter due to COVID infections within the travel industry. It's a good thing that staff who are infected call out sick and keep the rest of us safe by reducing their spread, but we can prevent future outbreaks of such intensity by ensuring all passengers are inoculated. This would be good for passengers, for passengers' families and friends, for staff, and honestly even for the airlines. It's a safety-first approach in which pretty much everyone wins!
Sign now to demand that President Biden finally mandate vaccines for air travel within the United States!
Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the history of human civilization, the United States has done a catastrophically poor job managing the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. has already broken the record for most new positive cases in the new year, and beats out every other country on earth for most total COVID deaths, despite making up only 5% of the world's population. But there's one simple measure that could change these numbers drastically, saving lives and reducing illness.
Data shows that even against the new, slightly more evasive Omicron variant, vaccines are wildly successful at preventing illness, hospitalization, and death. Requiring vaccinations for air travel would encourage many unvaccinated Americans to get inoculated – which could save not only their own life, but also others' lives. This includes the lives of fellow passengers and flight staff, and all the people those passengers go on to come into contact with.
And all this would, in turn, help free up precious hospital capacity by preventing one more bed from being dedicated to an unvaccinated COVID-19 patient.
Mandating vaccination isn't just about preventing our hospitals from being full. It's also about justice. Since no vaccine exists for children under 5, their health and safety is entirely dependent on the decisions made by the adults around them. Similarly, many of our immunocompromised neighbors and elderly community members are at higher risk from COVID complications even with the vaccine. And hundreds of thousands of people incarcerated in prisons and jails in the U.S. have not been given the vaccine or booster at all. Their lives depend on the decisions the federal government makes about how to manage this pandemic – and requiring shots for air travel is one simple way to reduce spread.
One of Joe Biden's biggest campaign promises was to manage the pandemic better than his predecessor Donald Trump had. It is time for him to prove he can do that by taking simple steps that are long overdue. Sign the petition if you agree that Biden must mandate vaccines for air travel and protect all of us!