White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would support a vaccine mandate for air travel days after the White House refused to rule the option out.
The administration is cracking down on unvaccinated Americans, with President Joe Biden announcing a slew of new rules on Sept. 9 aimed at getting more of the country to take the shot. Most notably, Biden said that all employers with 100 or more employees will have to ensure workers are vaccinated or test them weekly, and heavy fines can be given out for those that don’t comply.
One day after the president’s announcement, White House coronavirus response team coordinator Jeff Zients and White House press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t rule out the option of requiring vaccine or tests for domestic U.S. flights. Zients noted that the administration isn’t “taking any measures off the table” while Psaki said they’ll “continue to look for ways to save more lives.”
Fauci, on the other hand, didn’t beat around the bush, telling the “Skimm This” podcast that he backs mandating vaccines for travel.
“I would support that, if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci said.
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The interview with Fauci was taped on Friday and will be released in full Thursday, according to The Hill.
Democratic Virginia Rep. Don Beyer introduced a bill last week calling for those traveling by air or train to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test prior to traveling. The bill also requires employees to do the same in order to work.
There appears to be growing concern within the Biden administration over the delta variant, which makes up over 99% of cases in the U.S. The administration has repeatedly dubbed the current situation as a pandemic of the unvaccinated, with Biden declaring in his most recent speech last week that the newest measures will “protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.”
During that speech, the president sharply criticized unvaccinated Americans, warning that “our patience is wearing thin.” (RELATED: ‘The Choice Is Yours’: In Line With CDC’s Mask Guidance, Biden Gives Americans An Ultimatum On Vaccines)
“And your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said. “So, please, do the right thing. But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, ‘If only I had gotten vaccinated. If only.’ It’s a tragedy. Please don’t let it become yours.”