Nearly 6 In 10 Americans Support Vaccine Mandate For Air Travel, Per New Survey

Another major public survey has revealed public support for a vaccine mandate for air travel. Nearly six in 10 Americans (57%) support such a requirement for flying, according to a recent poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research fielded a week ago. This is in line with findings from other reputable pollsters such as the Harris Poll, Gallup and Ipsos.

Earlier this month, the Harris Poll Covid-19 tracking survey found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) support introducing a vaccine passport for flying on an airplane, with those who “strongly support” such an initiative outnumbering those who “somewhat support” it by more than two to one.

As the delta variant of the coronavirus rips through much of the United States, concerns about contracting Covid-19 are at their highest level since January, with 41% of Americans saying they are extremely or very worried that they or a family member would become infected, according to the AP-NORC survey. This is nearly double the 21% of Americans who said they were worried in June, which the lowest level of concern since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Harris Poll also found that Americans are paying very close attention to the delta variant, and beginning to break travel plans based on Covid-19 infection rates. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents say they are checking Covid case numbers or infection rates for their destinations before they travel. A full half (50%) of respondents say they would definitely check prior to departure and 22% say they would probably check.

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In May, when Covid-19 cases were falling in the United States, two major surveys — from Gallup and Ipsos — found that a majority of U.S. adults (57% and 61%, respectively) believed that vaccine passports would be effective in making travel and large events safe.

Canada, which has a higher vaccination rate and a much lower Covid-19 infection rate than the United States, announced earlier this month that it will require all domestic air passengers to be fully vaccinated by this fall. Air Canada, the nation’s flag carrier and largest airline, called the mandate a “welcome step forward in the evolving measures to protect the health and safety of airline employees, customers and all Canadians.”

This month, three U.S. airlines — United Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines — announced vaccine mandates for their employees. Alaska Airlines signaled that it, too, may issue a vaccine mandate — but only after the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) fully authorizes the shots.

Currently, the three vaccines in the United States — made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — have emergency use authorizations, but the FDA is reportedly set to grant full approval for the Pfizer vaccine next week.