U.S. Travelers 'Should Be Vaccinated' Before Getting on a Plane, Dr. Fauci Says
"I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated," Fauci said.
Air travelers in the United States should be vaccinated before boarding a plane, Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a recent interview.
"I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated," Fauci said in a video interview with theSkimm when asked if he would support a vaccine mandate for flying. However, he did not explicitly say he would support a mandate or what a potential mandate would entail.
While the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he would support travelers being vaccinated before taking to the skies, it's something the federal government and individual airlines have stopped short of implementing. On Friday, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response team coordinator, said they were "pulling available levers to acquire vaccinations and we're not taking any measures off the table."
The White House has already proposed mandating vaccines or weekly testing for companies with more than 100 workers, and several airlines have announced employee vaccination rules or incentive programs like United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Delta Air Lines.
Many cruise lines have also implemented their own mandatory vaccination rules, notably Norwegian Cruise Line, which has defended its policy in federal court. And several cities have put vaccine mandates in place for activities like indoor dining, including New York City, San Francisco, and Maui.
The Transportation Security Administration also recently doubled the penalties for travelers who refuse to wear masks on planes in defiance of the federal transportation mask mandate amid an alarming increase in reports of unruly passengers this year.
Beyond the U.S., several other countries have put plans in motion to require proof of vaccination to fly, including Canada, which expects to mandate the shot for commercial air passengers, travelers on interprovincial trains, and cruise ship passengers by the fall.
In France, all domestic air, long-distance train, and bus passengers must have a digital health pass, which travelers can get by showing they are fully vaccinated or by showing proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours. And Australian airline Qantas has said it plans to require passengers to be vaccinated before boarding when international flights resume.
The U.S. Travel Association stands in opposition to a potential vaccine mandate, with Tori Emerson Barnes, the group's executive vice president of public affairs and policy, telling Travel + Leisure it "would have an unfair, negative impact on families with young children who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine."
"While U.S. Travel does not endorse a national vaccine mandate, we continue to believe that vaccines are the fastest path back to normalcy for all," Barnes said. "We strongly encourage all who are eligible to get a vaccine immediately to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors."
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.