White House Debating Vaccines For Air Travel After Fauci Said He’d Support A Mandate
According to The Hill on Sunday, the Biden administration is currently debating whether or not to implement a policy to require that passengers for all commercial air travel in the United States show proof of a Covid-19 vaccine:
The Biden administration is facing an internal debate over whether to impose vaccine mandates for air travel, with President Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci saying he would support a mandate but the White House claiming a new policy isn’t forthcoming.
In began with Fauci’s comments on theSkimm podcast days ago wherein he was asked about the possibility. “I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci said.
In follow-up White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Fauci’s commments on Thursday, to which she responded:
“We haven’t taken options off the table, but I don’t have any updates to share with you at this point. Our focus is on implementation of the big steps we announced last week.”
Psaki said the administration is currently focused on things like mask mandates:
“Right now, our focus is on implementing those. Part of that was also doubling fines for people who were not wearing masks on planes – a step that we feel would help keep people safe on flights and reduce the spread,” she said in the Thursday remarks.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain also later confirmed a vaccine mandate for all domestic air travel is something under consideration, The Hill notes.
The trade association and D.C.-based lobbying group representing all major US airports has meanwhile issued a statement saying they don’t think a vaccine mandate is coming soon, and would be concerned if that happened. The Hill cites their statement as follows:
“We have been informed that there is no imminent policy proposal regarding domestic travel, and echo concerns expressed by government about the implementation and enforcement of such a policy. We remain in communication with the Administration and continue to lean into science to guide policies that prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the traveling public.”
Without question such a potential mandate impacting all traveling Americans would result in huge pushback from both Republicans in Congress and a large segment of the US population.
Previously the CDC put out a public plea which “asked” Americans who remain fully unvaccinated to not travel over the Labor Day holiday weekend. “First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had said in a briefing at the start of September.
This unusual request from a top health authority for Americans to restrict their movement suggests the political momentum in Washington is moving in the direction for more severe measures like limiting unvaccinated people’s movement within the United Sates – something which many officials and pundits have slammed as unconstitutional. Such a policy would also likely require some kind of universal ‘vaccine passport’ system as a means of showing proof and boarding a plane.