Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that the nation should consider a vaccination mandate for domestic air travel, signaling a potential embrace of an idea the Biden administration has previously eschewed, as COVID-19 cases spike.
“When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the National Institutes of Health, told MSNBC. “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.”
The comments from Fauci came as US airlines cancelled as many as 2,800 flights over the weekend as a result of bad weather and staffing shortages caused by a new wave of infections. These are mostly the result of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.
US citizens have access to three vaccines approved by the authorities, however, only 62 per cent of those eligible are fully vaccinated. Around 70 per cent have had one dose.
Since November, the US has, with a few exceptions required foreign national air travelers to the country to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding a plane. Many other countries have imposed similar rules.
Joe Biden declined to say whether he endorsed a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel, another step administration officials have discussed in recent days. Dr Fauci said the mandate for domestic air travel was to be seen in the same way that colleges or employers set being vaccinated as a requirement.
“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,” Fauci said.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DENVER POST
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