Friday, May 24, 2024

It’s Time To Let The Unvaccinated Enter The U.S.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Phillippines was going to loosen its very stringent COVID mandates. It was going to make masks voluntary indoors, with a few exceptions. In addition, it was going to end its COVID vaccination requirement to enter the country. It should be noted that as of writing the Phillippine government has not actually issued the order.

To give you an idea how stringent the Philippines has been on COVID mandates, I went to that lovely country last month. When I arrived there, the country had an *outdoor* mask mandate. That mandate was lifted on the first few days of my trip. Even without the mandate, most Filipinos, including my girlfriend, keep wearing their masks outdoors. No, I won’t lecture her about her decision.

Anyway, back to the unvaccinated travelers. The Phillippines is set to scrap its COVID vaccination requirement and instead will require just an antigen test within 24 hours of departure if you’re not vaccinated. There will be no testing requirement for vaccinated travelers and no quarentine requirements for any travelers. Meanwhile, many other countries have completely scrapped their COVID entry mandates.

There is one country that is conspiciously missing from that list, the United States. The U.S. continues to require international travelers to be vaccinated against COVID. The vaccination requirement was extended by the Department of Homeland Security in April of this year.

It’s time for the United States to join the growing list of countries that have scrapped their vaccination mandate for international visitors. Making such a decision will provide a boost to international travel and tourism in a time when the overall American economy is showing signs of weakness.

One of the arguments for requiring vaccination is that the vaccines reduce the likelihood of transmitting COVID-19. But that has proven to be unfortunately a flawed argument. Unfortunately, the risk of vaccinated people transmitting and catching COVID is not low. Even more damming, Pfizer executives admit that the vaccines were not even tested for transmission.

Given that the vaccines provide minimal protection against transmitting the virus, especially as the virus mutates, there is no plausible public health rationale for this vaccination mandate. Unless DHS wants to mandate a new booster shot everytime one has to be created to combat a new variant. But given how coronaviruses mutate frequently, that is simply not a realistic approach.

Keeping the vaccination requirement in place also contradicts what our own presidnet is saying. Last month, President Biden said that the COVID pandemic was over. Ending the vaccination requirement for international travlers would be another step in the country, and the world, returning to normal.

There is no public health rationale for keeping the vaccination requirement, given how the vaccines do not stop the transmission of COVID or even prevent infection in the first place. In addition, keeping the vaccination mandate is bad for tourism in a time when our economy is struggling.

I never thought I would use this phrase but it’s time to follow in the direction of the Phillippines. It’s time to open the doors and welcome back unvaccinated international travelers to the U.S.