Beginning November 1, all international travelers will have to provide proof of vaccination for entry into the United States. The Biden administration recently announced the new rules, which will impact anyone who is not an American citizen or permanent resident. The vaccine requirements were put in place to replace the travel ban which now exists for some 33 countries to the United States.
But it may have negative implications for small countries, including many in the Caribbean region, where access to vaccines is a major hurdle and vaccination rates are low. We asked some of our readers if they think it is fair for the United States to require proof of vaccination from all international visitors.
Here are the responses:
Ashley Channel – My thoughts are if you’re going to make one demographic group do it then all need to succumb to the same expectation. Right now it seems as though the country is trying to achieve herd immunity because they feel as though that’s the only solution to getting the virus under control. Covid vaccines won’t provide herd immunity. We need to look for additional treatments. We must invest in the research necessary to identify, discover and test new therapies for those who get sick even as we push to get more shots in arms.
Willyne Joseph – It’s not just the U.S. that is implementing Covid restrictions. Outside the U.S., other countries are implementing other anti-Covid policies that are impacting immigrants. Canada for example has introduced strict travel regulations to minimize the spread of Covid-19. There, transportation by plane, train or boat requires passengers to be vaccinated. Also, Canada only recognizes four vaccines: AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and the Johnson & Johnson one, limiting people from foreign nations from entering the country with other unrecognized vaccines. As the world moves on, I think it is very likely that Covid vaccines will become part of the paperwork in the immigration process everywhere. Do I think it’s ethical to mandate it? No. But in the same breath, something has to be done to regulate the increasing case numbers we are having, especially now that the borders are opening back up and people are starting to travel again. For now, immigrant vaccination rates are taking an incremental path.
Tim Raqiu – This is a tough question to answer because there’s a benefit in requiring immigrants to be vaccinated, which is to achieve herd immunity. However, coming from a family of immigrants I know how difficult it can be to receive certain resources and proper healthcare in countries outside of the US. With that being said instead of requiring immigrants to be vaccinated before entering the U.S. maybe the U.S. can offer vaccines to immigrants coming in since the supply and distribution of vaccines seems to be low in other countries. Not only will that secure the safety of themselves and others but it will also give immigrants the opportunity to receive the healthcare they desire and get a vaccine that is recognized by the majority of the nation. This will allow them to move and travel freely to conduct business, see their family, and vacation.
McKenzie Martin – We know vaccines are effective, including against the delta variant, and vaccines are the best line of defense against Covid, so this vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
Phillip Peterson – I don’t think it’s right to mandate that immigrants get vaccinated before entering US borders because that takes away free choice and free will, and this country stands on those principles of being a nation that is for liberty. However, people in immigrant communities and advocates have expressed concern about barriers that many people face when attempting to access COVID-19 vaccines. These barriers frequently are related to the concerns immigrants generally have when trying to access health care — concerns about documentation requirements, data privacy, eligibility, cost, and whether resources are available in their native language. So if you’re going to mandate it then you need to also make it accessible for everyone in order for there to be inclusivity and equity.
Darren Wiles – No I do not think it should be required for immigrants to be fully vaccinated before entering the US borders we should not force people to have to subject themselves to a standard that we set as a nation to control this virus. Some people believe in natural remedies others have religious preferences that don’t allow for them to subject themselves to certain medications or vaccines so to be fair I think it’s best that we just require two negative tests before traveling overseas.