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OPINION | OTHERS SAY: Foreign travelers to the U.S. should be vaccinated

by THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | August 24, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.

Plans are being developed to require vaccination against covid-19 for all would-be foreign travelers to America. It's just sensible.

First reported earlier this month by Reuters, the Biden administration is formulating a new system that would dovetail with the expiration of current restrictions on travel to the United States.

Required vaccination is a step acknowledging the simple facts of world happenings. The pandemic battle that has been waged for months has not vanquished covid-19. In fact, this enemy of the people has proven to be fierce beyond expectations. Variants are surging. Hospitalizations are rising.

Some argue that an across-the-board vaccine mandate for visitors to the states is an unnecessary overreach--that caseloads in the U.S. are worse than in some countries that would be impacted by the vaccine requirement. But, this is a specious argument. Those who cannot obtain a vaccination should not be traveling, for their sake as well as for the sake of their fellow travelers and the people with whom they would seek to visit in this country. Those who have obtained a vaccine should be willing to demonstrate that they, indeed, have gotten one.

There is no publicly released timetable yet for requiring foreign travelers to be inoculated. So, any policy under development can be tweaked to reflect any knowledge gleaned by science. But, development of a policy is smart forward-thinking.

Currently, travelers from Iran, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, the Republic of Ireland and Europe's Schengen Area are barred from the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unless they are a U.S. citizen or they spend 14 days before arrival in a country that is not on that restricted list.

It is wearisome, at best, to contemplate rules that hearken to the worst days of the pandemic. After vaccines were developed and rolled out at a pace never before seen in history, Americans began to breathe easier, believing an end was in sight and a return to pre-pandemic normal was on the horizon. Now, we face the truth that our guard cannot be dropped. Not yet.

We have made progress in the war against covid-19. It's killer power has been diluted by vaccination--a major victory, no doubt. But, we must not cede ground on the battlefield. Not now. Not yet.

Print Headline: Vaccinate travelers

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