Fauci says he would support vaccine requirements for air travel

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Journalist Zaid Jilani describes removal of animal rights ad that criticizes Fauci Watch live: White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing MORE said in a new interview that he would support vaccine requirements for air 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 during an interview with theSkimm’s "Skimm This" podcast, which was taped Friday and is set to be released Thursday.

Fauci’s backing of a travel vaccine mandate comes after Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) introduced a bill on Thursday that calls for all airline and train passengers in the U.S. to show proof of vaccination or a present negative COVID-19 test in order to travel.

ADVERTISEMENT

The legislation, dubbed the Safe Travel Act, advocates for all travelers on Amtrak and commercial airlines to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of traveling.

The bill also seeks to require that employees, contractors and subcontractors of Amtrak and commercial airlines either show proof of a completed vaccination series or present a negative COVID-19 test at least once per week.

A federal mask mandate is already in place for all airline, bus and train travelers and will remain effective until at least Jan. 18, 2022.

The federal government, however, has not implemented a mandate requiring testing or vaccinations for travel.

Fauci also doubled down on his support for student vaccine mandates, contending that such an inoculation policy is in place for other diseases.

“When you hear us say should you mandate vaccination for children to be able to attend school, some people say, ‘Oh, my goodness. That would be terrible to do that.’ But we already do that and have been doing that for decades and decades,” said President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE’s chief medical adviser.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don't know what school you went to, but the school that I went to, you had to be vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, or otherwise you couldn't go to school,” he continued.

He said vaccination mandates for schoolchildren are “not something new,” adding that vaccines are “the solution that we have at our hands.”

During an interview last month on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci said requiring vaccines for children to attend school “is a good idea,” noting that such a policy has been in place in the U.S. for “decades and decades.”

Fauci’s latest comments come as the U.S. is becoming increasingly concerned about the highly infectious delta variant, which is more contagious than previous versions of the virus and is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

Vaccines, however, have proved to be an effective tool in preventing severe illness for all COVID-19 variants. And a large majority of recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have been among unvaccinated individuals.

Updated at 9:18 p.m.