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VERIFY: No, airlines are not banning vaccinated flyers

A claim circulating online references an airline industry meeting, where companies considered barring vaccinated individuals from flying. This claim is false.

WASHINGTON — More than half of the U.S. population has gotten at least one dose of the COVID vaccines, and with more people getting the shot, travel is skyrocketing. 

The number of people boarding flights has jumped to over 2 million a day, according to TSA screening estimates. An estimated 2,097,433 flew on Sunday, June 13, nearly four times as much that time last year.

But as more Americans are flying again, more misinformation is flying around on social media.

Some posts online claim airline companies met to discuss and consider banning people who are vaccinated from flying because of the risks of blood clots. We're verifying: is that true?

THE QUESTION

Did airlines meet to consider not allowing those who received a COVID-19 vaccine from flying due to the risk of blood clotting?

THE ANSWER

Our Verify researchers found no evidence of this.

OUR SOURCES

  • International Air Transport Association spokesperson
  • Southwest Airlines spokesperson
  • Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist and professor at Vanderbilt University

WHAT WE FOUND

First our Verify researchers contacted the International Air Transport Association, a trade association that represents about 290 airlines.

One of their spokespeople told our researchers they’re not aware of any meeting like this.

"We’re not aware of any meeting between airlines to discuss not carrying vaccinated passengers," the spokesperson said. "IATA’s position is that travelers who are vaccinated should be free to travel without restriction."

They also explained that the type of rare blood clot associated with some COVID vaccines, isn’t the same type of clot that’s linked to long periods of sitting, like during a flight.

We then turned to the CDC. 

According to their website, the clots that can happen during long-distance flights are called Deep Vein Thrombosis, which generally, can occur in legs.

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The blood clots found in six people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, was called Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis, which can occur in the brain, abdomen or legs.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, told our researchers he hasn’t seen any data suggesting vaccinated people are at greater risk of blood clotting in-flight.

In fact, the CDC specifically says you should, "delay travel until you are fully vaccinated.”

Regarding this claim about a secret meeting to ban vaccinated passengers, a spokesperson for Southwest, one of the largest domestic airlines, told our researches succinctly, “this is not accurate.”

So we can Verify, this claim is false.

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