Merely days after suggesting vaccination proof would be “reasonable to consider” for domestic travel in the United States, Anthony Fauci, the President’s Chief Medical Advisor, has ruled out the implementation of any such requirement “right now“, but confirms it has been considered.
The Omicron Threat That Stirred The Discussion
In light of the new Omicron variant, which seems to be more contagious and has already disrupted travel plans for hundreds of thousands, national governments have been rushing to offer booster doses and reintroduce restrictive measures, hoping to stop the revamped virus in its tracks.
Ever since vaccines were made widely available in most of the developed world, proof of vaccination seems to have become the standard rule for international travelers hoping to bypass the usual pandemic-related restrictions.
Consequently, a majority of countries worldwide have adhered to strict vaccine mandates, with plenty in Europe either denying entry completely, or requiring PCR tests of Americans who are yet to take up their shots.
One of the new Omicron-inspired restrictive measures that have been widely discussed in recent weeks is the necessity of applying a vaccine mandate to the domestic airline industry.
However, judging by Fauci’s latest statements, the measure seems to be off the table for the moment.
What Has Dr. Fauci Actually Said
Following media uproar, which led Fox News host Will Cain to suggest Fauci was “drunk on power”, the medical advisor was featured on CNN clarifying his previous statements.
After being asked by CNN anchor Jim Acosta to follow up on his initial quote, and whether confirm or deny that the federal government was seriously considering requiring vaccination proof of US domestic travelers, Fauci promptly responded:
“No, what I said, Jim, was that everything that comes up as a possibility, we put it on the table and we consider it. That does not mean that it is going to be likely to happen“.
He went on to say that, as of now, people should not expect a requirement to be vaccinated in order to board domestic flights, though “it is on the table” and they “consider it”.
Fauci doubts they are going to “see something like that in the reasonably foreseeable future”, though he never rules out the option completely.
What Do Fauci’s Latest Statements Mean For The Unvaccinated
For now, it seems as if a new vaccine mandate targeting domestic travelers is unlikely to be enacted.
While vaccination requirements for domestic travel is not an entirely new concept, having already been implemented in France, where a vaccine pass is required for intercity travel, this level of nation-wide regulation would be a serious challenge to overcome in the States.
Given the level of autonomy conceded to individual American states, which are able to draw up their own laws and Covid requirements as deemed fit, it is improbable, as Fauci reiterated, that a blanket travel vaccine mandate across the US would be implemented anytime soon, and certainly not as smoothly.
As for international travel with the US as departure point, passengers have already been routinely screened for Covid, with certain destinations now requiring booster shots and negative PCR tests for American arrivals.
What Is Currently Required Of Domestic Travelers?
Under present rules, although highly recommended to unvaccinated persons by the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no pre-departure testing is required for domestic travel. Or, to that extent, vaccination proof.
However, as mentioned above, different regions may have contrasting Covid regulations, including local travel restrictions, mandatory mask wearing, proof of vaccination for entry into venues or quarantine requirements for certain arrivals.
Thus, travelers are advised to always check updated policies before traveling to other US states and refer to official CDC guidance for any Covid-related travel risks.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories