The Biden Administration is having an internal debate on whether or not to impose vaccine mandates to fly. Dr. Fauci says that he would support the mandate.
A vaccine mandate to fly would receive strong opposition from Republicans and the travel industry. It also runs the potential as being seen as an overreach by the government. The Biden Administration has already received strong pushback over the vaccine mandate for companies with at least 100 employees.
Several governors have already threatened to sue. Governor Brian Kemp (GA), Governor Doug Ducey (AZ), and Governor Kristi Noem (SD) have all threatened legal action over Biden’s mandate for employees to get vaccinated.
On Thursday, the White House Press Secretary stated that the idea to mandate being vaccinated to fly was not off the table.
“We haven’t taken options off the table, but I don’t have any updates to share with you at this point. Our focus is on implementation of the big steps we announced last week,” – Jen Psaki
During a podcast, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain stated that imposing a vaccine mandate to fly domestically is an option that is being considered. However, Klain argued that imposing vaccine mandates to fly would burden those traveling and the people enforcing the mandate.
“It’s something we continue to look at. We want to kind of weigh the number of people that these requirements could vaccinate versus the burden on the vaccinated, having to show proof every time you go on to an airplane, having to wait on longer lines at TSA. But I think it’s something we’ll look at as we continue to progress,” – Ron Klain
“We think the most efficient vaccine requirements are ones that where people are kind of in a permanent situation, on the job, in the military, where they verify once and then they’re verified in that scenario,” – Ron Klain
Rep Don Beyer (VA-D) introduced legislation requiring people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to fly.
There has also been the debate of just mandating vaccines to fly internationally. The Biden Administration also announced the Transportation Safety Administration would impose double fines on individuals who fly and refuse to wear masks. The masks mandate for travel is in place until January 2022.
“Right now, our focus is on implementing those. Part of that was also doubling fines for people who were not wearing masks on planes – a step that we feel would help keep people safe on flights and reduce the spread,” – Jen Psaki
U.S. Travel Association president Roger Dow feels that implementing a vaccine mandate to fly would be “extraordinarily difficult.”
“The challenge is you’ve got upwards of 65 percent of the population vaccinated, and you have 35 to 40 percent that for some reason may not be able to be vaccinated, but yet they’re willing to do a COVID test and to show that when they walk in the door, that they are COVID-free,” – Roger Dow
Airlines for America would be highly concerned if the Biden Administration implemented a vaccine mandate to fly.
“We have been informed that there is no imminent policy proposal regarding domestic travel, and echo concerns expressed by government about the implementation and enforcement of such a policy. We remain in communication with the Administration and continue to lean into science to guide policies that prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the traveling public,” – statement from Airlines for America
In general, the airline industry has taken a massive hit from the beginning of the coronavirus, and implementing vaccines mandates could bring more devastation to the industry.