US should ‘seriously’ consider vaccine mandate for domestic flights: Fauci

Coronavirus

NEW YORK CITY – JULY 02: People move through LaGuardia Airport (LGA) before the start of the Fourth of July weekend on July 02, 2021 in New York City. Following a year that saw the airline and travel industries lose billions of dollars due to the pandemic, Americans are traveling again with officials warning travelers to prepare for long lines and increased wait times at airports this holiday weekend. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said Monday that the U.S. should “seriously” consider a vaccination mandate for domestic travel.

Speaking to MSNBC, Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden’s chief science adviser on the COVID-19 response, said “When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated.”

The U.S. currently mandates that most foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but has not instituted one for domestic travel.

The administration has at times considered a domestic vaccination requirement, or one requiring either vaccination or proof of negative test, but two officials said Biden’s science advisers have yet to formally make the recommendation to the president.

The officials noted they have not been eager to mandate vaccination for domestic air travel because they expected it to immediately face legal challenges, mitigating its potential effectiveness as a tool to drive up vaccinations.

Biden’s employer vaccination requirements have been mired in legal wrangling, with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments in early January in cases seeking to overturn them.

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