Anthony Fauci wants vaccine mandates for domestic air travel but says they will not happen “immediately.”
[CNN’s] Dana Bash asked if he would like an air travel vaccine mandate in effect for the holidays. He said such a decision would be made with “input from a number of parts of the government.”
“On the table is the issue of mandates for vaccine,” said Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser. “It’s always discussable, we always wind up discussing it, but right now I don’t see that immediately.”
Late last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would make vaccination, a negative coronavirus test or proof of recent recovery from the virus mandatory to fly domestically. Earlier in the month, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) proposed legislation to require proof of vaccination or a negative test for domestic air or Amtrak travelers.
Airlines take different positions on vaccine requirements for travel, depending on whether it’s international or domestic travel, and this isn’t because the virus somehow spreads differently when it is crossing borders.
- Airlines wanted vaccine mandates for traveling to the U.S., because that was part of a package to allow people who’ve been in Europe, China, Brazil South Africa and several other countries in the prior 14 days to travel to the U.S. at all.
- Airlines do not want domestic vaccine mandates for travel, because that means fewer people who can travel.
While U.S. airlines are requiring vaccination for employees (largely, aside from United, strictly at the behest of the federal government) that does almost nothing to protect travelers. The pilot in a little room at the front of the plane has to be vaccinated, but the passenger in the middle seat next to you does not.
I would choose an airline without basic economy restrictions (so other passengers could more easily change their travel plans if they are sick) and that required vaccination. United actually wants to offer a ‘vaccine-only seating section’ but says the government won’t allow it.
Like many recently-announced federal requirements, a vaccination requirement to exercise the right to travel seems more questionable. The federal government has far more authority over requirements at the border.
However with the federal mask requirement for air travel in place through January 18, 2022, it might be interesting to see vaccination as a requirement instead of masking.
The federal government required masks for air travel, even though airplanes see less spread than other indoor congregant settings, because it was one of the few places where it (at least arguably) had the authority. Of course, as with new border requirements of vaccination this would all be for show if less effective Chinese vaccines, which haven’t been shown to reduce spread, are accepted.
Both mask and vaccine policy has been rife with contradiction. Many federal vaccine advisors who have recommended against booster doses for the general population, argue that vaccines remain effective against sever disease and we shouldn’t be vaccinating to contain spread. These same public health advisors argue that the vaccinated should wear masks to… limit spread rather than merely severe disease.