Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, went from saying Monday morning that he wants the U.S. to “seriously” consider imposing vaccine mandates for people to fly to saying later in the evening that people should not expect a vaccine mandate to implemented for air travel.
Fauci made the initial remark during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” saying, “The group we’re really concerned about is the unvaccinated people because even if this virus is inherently less severe, just the volume of the number of cases that we’re going to have could actually put a stress on the hospital system.”
“When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Fauci added. “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.”
Fauci was later asked about his remarks during an interview on CNN Monday evening, saying, “Right now, I don’t think people should expect that we’re going to have a requirement in domestic flights for people to be vaccinated.”
“When I was asked that question, I gave an honest answer. It’s on the table, and we consider it,” Fauci continued. “But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I doubt if we’re going to see something like that in the reasonably foreseeable future.”
The remarks from Fauci come as Democrat President Joe Biden has failed to “shut down the virus,” a key promise that he repeatedly touted on the campaign trail last year, with hundreds of thousands of new cases of coronavirus being detected every day.
Fauci was asked about the possibility of using vaccine mandates for air travel during an ABC News interview on Sunday with Jonathan Karl.
“There is no vaccine requirement for domestic air travel in the United States,” Karl said. “And when the president was asked should there be one, he said that his team has said it’s not necessary at this point.”
“Do you agree with that, that there shouldn’t be a vaccine requirement for domestic air travel?” Karl asked.
“Well, it depends on what you want to use it for. I mean, vaccine requirements for people coming in from other countries is to prevent newly infected people from getting into the country,” Fauci said. “A vaccine requirement for a person getting on the plane is just another level of getting people to have a mechanism that would spur them to get vaccinated; namely, you can’t get on a plane unless you’re vaccinated, which is just another one of the ways of getting requirements, whatever that might be.”
“So I mean, anything that could get people more vaccinated would be welcome. But with regard to the spread of virus in the country, I mean, I think if you look at wearing a mask and the filtration on planes, things are reasonably safe,” Fauci continued. “We want to make sure people keep their masks on. I think the idea of taking masks off, in my mind, is really not something we should even be considering.”
“Anything that could get people more vaccinated would be welcome,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says when asked by @jonkarl about potential vaccine requirements for domestic air travel. https://t.co/6NvaxwLg5r pic.twitter.com/UMiNYMt0Hr
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 27, 2021