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Montana travelers weigh in on vaccine requirement for foreign flights

Posted at 9:35 AM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 11:36:43-04

BILLINGS — A trip home for foreign nationals living and working in Montana and elsewhere will require full vaccination starting Nov. 8, the White House announced earlier this week.

The change affects U.S. citizens who travel abroad and need to return home.

At least one traveler at Billings Logan International Airport Wednesday said he thinks that's a good idea.

“A while ago I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the vaccination at all, to be honest. But over here, it’s starting to become more clear and I got my second shot of Moderna, I'm fully vaccinated, and I think it’s a good option,” said Barend Fredrek who is returning home to South Africa after a summer working on a ranch in Glasgow.

Fredrek plans to return next summer and says that he’ll be ready if he does, "if I am bringing somebody over then yeah, they probably need to get vaccinated if they aren’t already vaccinated."

The airlines will be responsible for checking vaccination records and doing contact tracing. Travelers under the age of 18 will not have to get a shot but will need a negative Covid test three days prior to their flight.

While Fredrek is OK with the change, others at the airport were frustrated, arguing this new requirement is yet one more example of government overreach.

“I can’t imagine the idea that they think it’s okay to completely control people’s lives and to say, oh well you’re not going to be allowed in this other part of the world,” said Billings resident Anna Dunn.

Next month will be the first time since early 2020 that foreign visitors from over 30 countries will be able to travel to the United States.