Beginning on January 22, 2022, President Joe Biden will require all nonresident passengers crossing US land borders, such as truck drivers, government, and emergency response personnel, to be fully vaccinated, according to the administration.
A senior administration official said the requirement, which was first announced by the White House in October, aligns the rules for essential travelers with those that went into effect earlier this month for leisure travelers when the United States reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals.
US targets unvaccinated essential foreign workers
Essential ferry travelers will be expected to be completely vaccinated by the same date, according to the authority. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States are still allowed to enter the country regardless of their vaccination status, as per The Washington Post.
But they will be subjected to additional testing because officials believe they are more likely to contract and spread COVID-19 and to encourage them to get vaccinated.
To avoid inconveniences, the Biden administration put back the requirement for essential travelers by more than two months from when it went into force on November 8 for non-essential visits. This is especially important for truck drivers, who are critical to North American trade. Although most cross-border traffic was shut down in the early days of the pandemic, essential travelers were allowed to move freely.
Despite the delay, Norita Taylor, a spokesperson for the trucking association Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, slammed the vaccine requirement, calling it an example of "how superfluous government requirements may push experienced owner-operators and independent truckers out."
Under an emergency order established by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Biden administration intends to have major enterprises force their staff to be vaccinated or tested weekly by the end of the year.
While the regulation is now being challenged in court, the White House has pushed companies to create their own rules to improve vaccination rates regardless of the government obligation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 47 million adults in the United States are still unvaccinated.
Canada slams US strategy as "unnecessary demands"
Per NY Post, a trade group representing 150,000 drivers in the United States and Canada has slammed the planned laws as "unnecessary government demands." The new border rules come as the White House continues to employ legal procedures to boost vaccination rates across the country. According to the CDC, almost 47 million adults in the United States were still unvaccinated on Tuesday.
A federal court last Monday halted a sweeping Biden policy that would compel large-company workers to show their vaccination status or submit to weekly testing and wear masks by January 4.
The decision comes at a time when the United States is dealing with serious supply chain issues, including a truck driver shortage. Earlier this month, the American Trucking Association cautioned that requiring truckers to get vaccines might exacerbate the supply-chain issue.
According to a senior administration official, the new requirement, which was first announced by the White House in October, aligns the rules for essential travelers with those that went into effect earlier this month for leisure travelers when the US reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals.
Essential ferry passengers will be expected to be completely vaccinated by the same date, according to the authority. On the condition of anonymity, the official talked to The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.
Non-US citizens are subject to the rules. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States are still allowed to enter the country regardless of their vaccination status, but they will be subjected to additional testing because officials believe they are more likely to contract and spread COVID-19 and want to encourage them to get vaccinated, Business Insider reported.