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Feinstein Tables Bill Requiring Vaccine Passports for Domestic Air Travel

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: September 30, 2021
A Delta Air Lines employee works on the departures level at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on August 25, 2021. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation that will require vaccine passports for domestic and foreign air travel.
A Delta Air Lines employee works on the departures level at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on August 25, 2021. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation that will require vaccine passports for domestic and foreign air travel. (Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation to the Senate that will require all users of domestic air travel in the United States to show their vaccine status paperwork before boarding flights.

Feinstein made the announcement on her webpage on Sept. 29, where the legislation was framed in a relatively innocuous light as a measure that will “require all passengers on domestic airline flights to either be fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative for COVID-19 or have fully recovered from COVID-19.”

Yet in the 7-page text of the bill, dubbed the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act, the law, if enacted, will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Federal Aviation Administration to “develop national vaccination verification standards and procedures” 

The Act continues, “Such standards and procedures shall require that all covered air carriers require that, before any passenger may board an aircraft for a covered flight, such passenger shall—

(1) provide the covered air carrier with documentation demonstrating that the passenger is fully vaccinated (as defined by the Secretary or any successor guidance) against the COVID–19 (SARS–CoV–2) novel coronavirus; or 

(2) attest under penalty of perjury that the passenger has adhered to the international travel recommendations and requirements for individuals who are not fully vaccinated (issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) prior to boarding, including requirements to provide proof of a negative pre-departure qualifying test result for SARS–CoV–2 or, alternatively, written or electronic documentation of recovery from COVID–19 after previous SARS–CoV–2 infection, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s testing requirements and applicable guidance.”

The definitions section of the text defines “Covered Air Carrier” as “any air carrier engaged in passenger carrying operations,” and “any foreign air carrier authorized to engage in passenger-carrying operations.”

While “Covered Flight” is defined as “a flight of a covered carrier that is scheduled to depart from, and arrive at, an airport located in the United States.”

The bill also defines “Documentation of Recovery” as a positive test result in addition to a “signed letter on official letterhead that contains the name, address, and phone number of a licensed health care provider or public health official stating that the passenger has been cleared for travel.”

The tests must have been taken in the prior 90 days, be a viral test, and show a result for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), RNA, antigens, or “COVID-19 detected.”

Meanwhile, a “qualifying test result,” i.e., a negative test for COVID-19, is required to have occurred within 3 days of the flight.

In August, New York House of Representatives Democrat Ritchie Torres tabled a similar bill that would require vaccine passports for passengers on any flight “that departs from or arrives to an airport inside the United States or a territory of the United States.”

The same day, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), introduced a 3-page piece of legislation titled the Prevent Unconstitutional Vaccine Mandates for Interstate Commerce Act that would prevent the Department of Transportation, Amtrak, Surface Transportation Board, the TSA, the NTSB, the Federal Maritime Commission, and the Department of Commerce from “promulgat[ing] any rule to require a person to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination of any kind in order to engage in interstate commerce or travel.”

In the press release for the bill, Scott said he believes vaccination should be a matter of informed consent and that governments should not be applying coercion, “I got the COVID-19 vaccine, and encourage everyone who feels comfortable to get it too, but government has no business pushing mandates on the American people and our hardworking businesses.” 

“It’s the government’s job to inform Americans and then let every family make the right choices that will keep themselves, their businesses and their employees safe.”

Supporters of vaccine passports may be wise to consider the situation in Israel. Effective Oct. 1, the country’s Green Pass vaccine passport system will automatically remove a citizen from fully vaccinated six months after their last injection, creating a scenario whereby booster shots, and the risk of adverse reactions accompanying them, will be required to maintain access to regular society.

This is significant in light of an article published by the Wall Street Journal in early September that found protection offered by today’s gene therapy COVID-19 injections only lasts for about as long as the yearly flu shot.

A preprint study from Israel that examined anonymized health records from one of the country’s four mandatory health care providers discovered that recipients of the Pfizer mRNA injection were at 27 times greater risk of symptomatic breakthrough infection than those carrying an immune response elicited from exposure and recovery. 

Also in September, Israel’s Health Minister, Nitzan Horowitz, was caught on a hot mic by Channel 12 News telling a colleague that vaccine passports weren’t really supported by epidemiology. Instead, they were about pressuring the vaccine hesitant into accepting an injection.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party government announced in August that all interprovincial air and train travel will require citizens to show their vaccine passport.