The US announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federal employees and international air travelers will be lifted on May 11.
The vaccination mandate was necessary because it was important for public health and millions of lives were saved in this way, the White House said in a statement.
“While vaccination remains one of the most important tools in advancing the health and safety of employees and promoting the efficiency of workplaces, we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary,” it said.
The Department of Homeland Security also announced plans Monday to no longer require non-US travelers entering the country by land ports and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.
The Biden administration dropped its requirement that people arriving in the US by air must test negative for COVID last June but kept in place Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination requirements for most foreign travelers.
On April 10, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed a bill immediately ending the national and public health emergencies related to the pandemic.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said, “Today’s action to lift the vaccine requirement eases a significant entry barrier for many global travelers, moving our industry and country forward.
“However, the return of international visitors should be as efficient and secure as possible. The federal government must ensure U.S. airports and other ports of entry are appropriately staffed with Customs and Border Protection officers to meet the growing demand for entry.”