The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced that he supports a vaccine mandate for air travel. This statement from Dr. Fauci came after lawmakers pushed for mandatory COVID vaccination or test for domestic travelers.
Dr. Fauci said that “I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated”.
Given the current surge in the US, the CDC recommends that Americans should get vaccinated before traveling domestically or internationally. The agency also recommends getting booster shots eight months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shots.
Lawmakers Pushing a Vaccine Mandate for Air Travel
Representative Don Beyer on Friday submitted a bill that would require domestic air and rail travelers to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID19 tests. The lawmaker said that “Requiring airport and Amtrak travelers and employees to provide a proof of COVID vaccine or negative test is just common sense”. He also added that “These are easy steps we can take to make travel safer, as companies like United have already demonstrated with responsible policy changes”.
On the other hand, New York Representative Ritchie Torres wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security in August calling the vaccine requirement on both domestic and international air travel as a “commonsense step”.
The White House declined to rule out the possibility of a vaccine mandate on Friday. When asked, COVID19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said “we’re not taking any measures off the table”. According to polls, the majority of Americans are supportive of a vaccine mandate for air travel.
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday a new vaccine requirement. This can affect 100 million American workers, making it the strongest vaccine push by the Biden administration. Under this plan, businesses with at least 100 employees will have to require vaccination or COVID19 testing every two weeks. Noncompliant companies will receive hefty fines that could reach thousands of dollars.