Fauci: Vaccine mandate for those on domestic flights ‘should be considered’

A vaccine mandate for those traveling on domestic flights is worth considering, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview on MSNBC Monday.

“When you make vaccinations a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Fauci said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.”

International travelers must wear a mask on planes in addition to showing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result to board a U.S.-bound flight.

Passengers on domestic flights must wear masks to board planes and must keep them on for the duration of the flight. They may take them off on the flight only to eat or drink.

It is unclear whether the Biden administration is considering a vaccine mandate for domestic air travelers. President Joe Biden said last week that “It’s been considered, but the recommendation I’ve gotten, it’s not necessary.”

The White House, when asked for comment, referred CNBC to Biden’s statement to ABC News last week. “It’s been considered,” Biden said, “but the recommendation I’ve gotten, it’s not necessary.”

The highly contagious omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly in the United States. Since Friday, U.S. airlines have canceled more than 2,000 flights due in part, airlines said, to outbreaks of the virus among staff.

As of Dec. 20, the omicron variant accounted for 53% of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S.