SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — In addition to checking your ID and bags at the ticket counter, you could soon have your COVID-19 vaccine record checked for domestic flights.
The proposal coming from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) would require travelers on U.S. flights to present either a COVID-19 vaccination record, a negative PCR test or proof they have recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. As currently written, these checks wouldn’t be administered by federal authorities but by airline agents.
“It does require that all of the attestation to be done by the airline and for the airline to provide confirmation of it,” says Marc Casto, president of Leisure Americas for Flight Centre Travel Group.
A Gallup study from April suggests that six out of ten Americans favor a vaccine mandate for U.S. air travel.
Prof. Dorit Reiss from UC Hastings specializes in vaccine law and says this proposal stands on very solid legal ground because it provides off-ramps for the unvaccinated.
“One of the challenges might be you need to include a religious exemption for those who oppose a COVID-19 vaccine. I don’t think that will fly and here’s why: it has a general exception. People can provide a negative test instead. So people with religious objections to vaccination can instead go and get a negative PCR test. So there’s already an exemption built in,” Reiss said.
KPIX asked some travelers at SFO what they think about the proposed law.
“Now you’re packed right next to someone. I don’t want to drink on the plane, I don’t want to eat on the plane. I’m not taking my mask off, I would feel much more comfortable knowing someone else is vaccinated,” said Megan Barton, a nurse practitioner.
“It’s just science. Let’s go with science people,” said traveler Kat Lake.