People looking to hop on an Air Mobility Command flight to the United States must first comply with new coronavirus testing requirements.
The rules affect U.S. troops, their families and other affiliated employees who are traveling to the U.S. for business or pleasure. Changes kicked in earlier this month in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
All passengers who are 2 years or older must now test negative for COVID-19 before the flight leaves from an AMC terminal, such as those used for “Patriot Express” trips between Guam, Japan and Washington state.
Passengers who are fully vaccinated — meaning they’ve received both doses of the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or the single Johnson & Johnson dose, and waited two weeks for full effect — must test negative for the virus within three days of a scheduled flight.
Those who are partially inoculated or not at all need to test negative on the day of the flight or on the day before — a change from earlier policy.
“Not fully vaccinated passengers between 2-17 years of age may travel with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian with a test completed within three days of travel,” the Air Force said in a recent release. “If the parent or guardian … is not fully vaccinated, the minor’s negative test result must also be dated within one day of travel.”
Americans age 5 and older are allowed to get the COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer, while those 18 and older can take the Moderna and J&J versions. The shots have not been approved for use in people younger than 5.
People can also show proof that they got a positive result on a viral test conducted within 90 days of departure, recovered from the virus, and were cleared for travel by a licensed health care provider or public health official, AMC said.
Children under 2 aren’t required to take a coronavirus test. Passengers who are redeploying and have testing exemption paperwork, signed by the first brigadier general or civilian equivalent in their chain of command, can avoid the rule as well.
More than 48 million COVID-19 cases and over 776,000 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. during the pandemic so far.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.