Just days after abdicating his responsibility to manage the COVID-19 crisis, President Joe Biden said this week he would impose a vaccine mandate on all domestic travelers if his health officials advised him to do it.
Asked when he would make a decision on vaccine requirements for domestic travel, President Biden tells reporters he would do so “when I get a recommendation from the medical team.”
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) December 28, 2021
When asked about whether such a mandate is something he is considering, Biden admitted to reporters in Delaware on Tuesday that it is, but said he would only make a decision “when I get a recommendation from the medical team.”
Coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci has already come out in support of forcing domestic travelers who want to fly to show proof of vaccination, saying that “anything that could get people more vaccinated would be welcome.”
He later walked back that statement, saying on Wednesday that he and his colleagues “do not feel that it’s necessary” to require vaccines to fly domestically right now.
However, Fauci noted that additional mandates are still on the table.
“If there’s a need to do more beyond this masking, namely having a vaccine issue, we will seriously consider that as new information arises,” he said. “It’s just keeping an open mind that the situation may change.”
Late last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Biden had talked to his health advisers about a possible domestic travel vaccine mandate, but said the administration was concerned about the “additional implications” that requirement might have.
“We would do it, though, if the health impact was overwhelming,” she admitted.
“So we rely always on the advice of our health and medical experts,” she continued. ‘That isn’t a step at this point that they have determined we need to take.”