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Dr. Fauci clarifies that travelers shouldn't expect a domestic flight vaccine mandate

Dec. 28, 2021
3 min read
Dr. Fauci clarifies that travelers shouldn't expect a domestic flight vaccine mandate
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated with new information.

Late Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the President, clarified statements he made earlier in the day that a vaccine requirement for passengers on domestic flights should be considered as COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the country.

"I don't think people should expect that we're going to have a requirement in domestic flights for people to be vaccinated," Fauci told CNN.

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In an interview with MSNBC Monday morning, Fauci had previously said it would be "reasonable to consider" the requirement.

"When you make vaccination a requirement, that's another incentive to get more people vaccinated," Fauci said. "If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that's something that seriously should be considered."

Notably, however, Fauci did not cite any inherent danger linked to airline travel but instead suggested that such a requirement could be used to encourage holdouts to get vaccinated.

The comments represented a break from past commentary from the Biden administration, which has previously dismissed the idea of a domestic travel vaccine requirement.

The Associated Press reported that officials said that the president's science advisers had made no formal recommendation and that a vaccine mandate on domestic fights could "trigger a host of logistical and legal concerns." So, it isn't surprising to see Fauci clarify that domestic travelers shouldn't expect a vaccine mandate for domestic travel.

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The U.S. currently requires most foreign travelers to the country to be vaccinated. However, citizens and permanent residents can enter by simply testing negative for the virus, regardless of vaccination status.

Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested to reporters that the Biden administration had not implemented such a requirement because "we know that masking can be, is, very effective on airplanes," the AP reported.

"We also know that putting in place that additional restriction might delay flights, might have additional implications," Psaki added. "We would do it, though, if the health impact was overwhelming. So we rely always on the advice of our health and medical experts. That isn't a step at this point that they had determined we need to take."

Employees at major U.S. airlines have largely been required to be vaccinated under a Biden administration executive order.

Read more: Here's what to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

Fauci's comments came as U.S. airlines struggled to recover from a Christmas weekend of flight cancellations caused by a surge in COVID-19 cases among flight crews, which have been largely driven by the spread of the omicron variant.

Additional reporting by Ashley Kosciolek.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023