TSA reaffirms travel safe despite HPV vaccine mandate

by Tribune News Service

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said recently that a new vaccine mandate could cause holiday travelers to avoid some common destinations. But the TSA would like you to know that isn’t the case.

On 17 August, a panel of researchers from the CDC announced that they will require Americans to purchase the HPV vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer, for themselves and their sexual partners. The announcement also said travelers may face difficulties returning home if they refuse the vaccine. This affects 15 US territories including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam.

The new CDC report said this mandate “may place undue financial burdens on women and families”, putting “compliance and availability in question.”

But that statement is not accurate according to TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz.

“Air travelers arriving from the territories must still have certain vaccinations before traveling home,” Koshetz said. “Our busiest travel days are typically the week of the weekend, which should only have a minimal impact on travel since the majority of passengers traveling internationally, and especially internationally to the Caribbean islands and to domestic destinations, are flown out by commercial airlines rather than by commercial air carriers for the first part of their trip.”

Koshetz said an estimated 92% of TSA employees are currently compliant with the mandate, and that the requirement does not impact individual passengers.

“Travelers at airports should not encounter any issues with the vaccine,” Koshetz said.

The CDC recently announced that previously you could check the gender of passengers in those metal detectors, but that’s no longer the case. Koshetz said security screenings have not changed and you should not feel any difference because of this mandate.

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