ASTA Pushes For Testing Exemption For Fully Vaccinated US Citizens

Fully vaccinated US citizens should be able to return to the US from aboard without providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

That is the message coming from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), sent to the White House’s COVID-19 Recovery Team Coordinator Jeffrey Zients on Tuesday.

The letter, signed by ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby, highlights the fact that the testing requirement, which was recently shortened to 24 hours, is a major challenge to both advisors and their clients.

“While we understand the rationale behind the inbound testing order, it continues to present a number of practical challenges to our members and their clients,” Kerby wrote.

“These challenges range from uncertainty as to the availability of timely testing in-destination to avoid disruption to their return trip to the financial and psychological burdens associated with being prevented from returning home due to a positive (or false positive) test result, to a general chilling effect on international bookings,” he said.

ASTA calls the testing requirement, “the single biggest barrier to the full recovery of the international travel system” and wants the CDC to reflect the scientific inventive that “widespread vaccinations are the single most important element of the fight against COVID-19.”

“As we enter the third year of the pandemic and reflect on how far the science related to COVID-19 mitigation has advanced since the order was first put in place in January 2021, we respectfully request that fully vaccinated US citizens be exempted from the order Kerby wrote.

Other countries have already taken that same step, including the UK, which opted to remove all COVID-19 entry requirements for fully vaccinated travelers earlier this week, along with Ireland, Sweden, and others.

Eben Peck, vice president of advocacy for ASTA, wrote about ASTA’s continued efforts in TMR last week:

“I can’t guarantee success on the fights described above or on the next big push to modify the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s inbound testing rule. I can however guarantee maximum effort from the ASTA staff and volunteer leadership like our national Board of Directors or Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg and Chris Seddelmeyer, Co-Chairs of our Government & Political Affairs Committee. If everyone reading this joins, engages with, and gives to our national trade association, our chances of success will go through the roof.”

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