President Joe Biden’s administration is taking the first steps toward requiring nearly all international visitors to the U.S. to be vaccinated for the coronavirus.
Watch the White House COVID Response Team briefing in the player above.
That’s according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the policy under development.
The requirement would come as part of the administration’s phased approach to easing restrictions for foreign travelers to the country. No timeline has yet been determined.
Foreign nationals traveling to the United States “may need to have some type of a vaccine requirement,” Jeff Zients, White House Coronavirus coordinator said during a COVID briefing Thursday.
Interagency working groups are studying how and when to safely move toward resuming normal travel.
Eventually all international citizens entering the country, with some limited exceptions, are expected to need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the U.S.
In addition, the White House reports there is a significant rise of “new cases” of coronavirus driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant compared to the modest increase in the rate of vaccinations.
“Driven by the more transmissible Delta variant cases are continuing to rise. These cases are concentrated in communities with low vaccination rates,” Zients said.
Adding, “states with some of the lowest vaccination rates account for about half of new cases and hospitalizations in the past week, despite making up less than a quarter of the US population.”
The administration also is encouraged that more companies, universities, and institutions are pushing vaccination requirements.
Zients said: “We support these vaccination requirements to protect workers, communities and the country.