Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem, who served under President Barack Obama, wants the Biden administration to further restrict unvaccinated Americans by banning them from flights. The 51 year old national security analyst recently wrote an op-ed in which she argued that "unvaccinated people need to bear the burden" and refrain from flying across the country to help prevent the spread of COVID.
"The White House has rejected a nationwide vaccine mandate-a sweeping suggestion that the Biden administration could not easily enact if it wanted to-but a no-fly list for unvaccinated adults is an obvious step that the federal government should take," Kayyem wrote in an op-ed for The Atlantic.
The former Obama official argued that limiting air travel to only vaccinated individuals will not only increase vaccination rates -by forcing those unvaccinated folks who want to fly to finally get the jab- but will help decrease the risk of transmission where unvaccinated people will travel to. This measure can also "[set] norms that restrict certain privileges to vaccinated people."
"Flying is not a right," Kayyem argued.
She added that because the federal government is the "sole entity that can regulate the terms and conditions of airline safety," they must take responsibility in implementing these proposed measures. The former Obama official lamented that face masks on airplanes and flights are not enough to stop the spread because unvaccinated folks will eventually spread the disease when they take off their masks at their destinations.
"More than another recitation of statistics about vaccines' benefits or yet another appeal to the common good, the deprivation of movement will win over doubters," Kayyem wrote. According to statistics gathered from a recent New York Times and Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 40% of vaccine hesitant individuals are waiting on the FDA's full approval of the vaccine to get the jab. President Joe Biden has expressed that he is waiting on the FDA to provide full approval as soon as possible.
According to Fox News, Kayyem argued that the right to fly is just another one of those rights unvaccinated people have to give up. After all, "Americans already give up a lot," she said, by disclosing personal information to airlines, complying with banning water bottles and cigarette butts, and even leaving guns and armor in checked luggage. She said that "For vaccinated people, having to show proof of vaccination when flying would be a minor inconvenience."
The Biden administration continues to crack down on the unvaccinated, recently ordering all federal employees to either get vaccinated or subject themselves to frequent COVID testing, strict mask mandates and social distancing rules, and some travel restrictions. More government branches appear to be following suit.
The New York Post reported that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday will announce that U.S. forces in active duty-all 1.3 million of them-will be required to get vaccinated against COVID. Given that none of the current COVID vaccines available in the U.S. have full approval from the FDA, Secretary Austin will need a waiver signed by President Biden to enforce the mandatory COVID vaccines for active-duty forces. Under this measure, active duty forces must either get the vaccine or be subjected to weekly COVID testing.