Currently, the United States mandates that non-citizens coming into the country present proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 within 24 hours of departure. Travelers who took the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, as well as shots approved by the World Health Organization, are authorized under federal health guidelines.
But Fauci said that those requirements should be expanded.
“If you’re making a requirement for vaccination for people to get on planes who are coming into the country, that’s understandable,” he told MSNBC on Monday.
“You don’t want to bring more cases into the country. But if you’re talking about requiring vaccination to get on a plane domestically, that is just another one of the requirements that I think is reasonable to consider,” Fauci added, without explaining why he believes the requirement is a “reasonable” one.
Critics of mandates and vaccine passport systems say they create a two-tiered society of vaccinated and unvaccinated that denies rights and privileges to unvaccinated individuals, even though data has shown fully vaccinated people can contract and transmit COVID-19.
Meanwhile, recent studies have shown that the Omicron COVID-19 variant—which the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said is now the dominant strain in the United States—presents milder symptoms and fewer hospitalizations than the Delta strain. Some officials, including Fauci, have said that because of Omicron’s high degree of transmissibility, it may lead to more and more hospitalizations in the coming days.
“You know, there’s requirements that you might want to get if you want to get into college, where you want to go to a university or you want to work in certain places,” Fauci also told the network about a potential airline mandate.