Flying regulations have completely changed in a post-COVID-19 world, and airlines will do just about anything to prevent being grounded as they were at the beginning of the pandemic. Many airlines initially required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to fly, while some have done away with those requirements in accordance with their country’s regulations.
However, there was a lot of misinformation initially, causing people to panic about flying once their airports opened back up. One of the most prevalent rumors was that the airlines were refusing vaccinated passengers from traveling. This was at odds with what they heard from their health departments, leaving many confused.
Airlines never banned vaccinated passengers from traveling. On the contrary, they were encouraging them! Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to stop the spread in addition to wearing a mask and social distancing, so airlines prefer vaccinated passengers and workers.
Where Did the Misinformation Come From?
Viral posts across social media claimed that airlines were discussing banning vaccinated passengers, allegedly because those vaccinated against COVID-19 ran a higher risk of blood clots. This rumor was completely unsubstantiated and false. There was no evidence in any studies of an added risk of blood clots for vaccinated airline passengers.
The claim was that “Airlines in Spain and Russia are warning people who have been vaccinated against coronavirus not to travel because of the risk of blood clots … this is a well-known risk of long-haul flights, but it is apparently exacerbated by the potential side effects, the clotting side effects, of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
This rumor was thought to be shared initially by Shannon Kroner, who was known to spread other false claims about COVID-19 vaccines; unfortunately, people didn’t stop to fact check, and the post started to go viral, causing panic and confusion among travelers.
Airline Travel and Vaccination
The COVID-19 vaccination brought relief to a global pandemic that had completely changed the way we lived and worked. There is no evidence that meetings between airline executives ever took place that discussed the risk of blood clots, banning vaccinated travelers, or any other of the claims made on social media.
While long-distance travelers can develop deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that occurs after extended periods of immobility, there is no evidence that links it to the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no proof of these claims, but there are many well-documented studies of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination. It opened back up domestic and international airline travel, helping people get to where they needed to go in person once again.
In fact, people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who could show proof of a positive case within the last 180 days were not subjected to the strict quarantine in place in many countries because they were at a lower risk of contracting or carrying the disease. There were exceptions to the rule, especially if you were coming from high-risk or areas with a new variant; however, generally speaking, you could move freely throughout the world once you were vaccinated.
So Are Airlines Refusing Vaccinated Passengers?
No, airlines are not refusing vaccinated passengers. They’re actually welcoming them! Vaccinated passengers are safer to travel with in many cases because there is a lower risk of contracting or carrying COVID-19, helping to stop the global spread of this terrible illness.
Contrary to viral claims, there is no proof that the vaccine causes blood clots. It’s likely that anti-vaxxers created these claims to prevent others from getting the vaccine that could lead to the end of this pandemic. Health providers recommend the COVID-19 vaccine to all with few medical exceptions.
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