Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is “sure” some businesses and institutions will adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and that it’s “quite possible” the vaccine will be required ahead of travel to some countries in the near future.
In an interview with Newsweek published on Friday, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that “everything will be on the table” when it comes to making changes and accommodations regarding the novel coronavirus.
That includes mandating the vaccine and the introduction of “COVID-19 vaccine passports” in order to get into venues and travel — a concept that is already being introduced in the airline industry and considered by some countries for entry.
Other possibilities — likelihoods, really — including mandating the vaccine for primary school students and masking.
“It’s not up to me to make a decision. But these are all things that will be discussed” by the Joe Biden administration, should he be inaugurated later this month.
That said, Fauci told Newsweek he didn’t think that a national vaccine mandate will be imposed because “we almost never mandate things federally” in regards to Americans’ health.
“I’m not sure it’s going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates. But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it,” he continued.
“For example, influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines are mandated at many hospitals. Here at the NIH [National Institutes of Health], I would not be allowed to see patients if I didn’t get vaccinated every year with flu and get vaccinated once with Hepatitis [B]. I have to get certified every year…if I didn’t, I couldn’t see patients,” said Fauci.
“So in that regard, I would not be surprised, as we get into the full scope of [COVID-19] vaccination, that some companies, some hospitals, some organizations might require [COVID-19] vaccination.”
Fauci also held out the possibility that COVID-19 will be added to an existing list of vaccines children must get before they attend school.
“That is possible but that’s something that’s mandated at the state level and city level,” he said. “A citywide school system might require it in some cities but not other cities. And that’s what I mean by things not being done centrally but locally.”
If some jurisdictions mandate the vaccine, which is almost a certainty, Americans moving into those areas will be subject to the mandate even if they are coming from somewhere the vaccine is not mandated. In fact, it’s likely people will have to show proof of vaccination before being allowed into certain areas or even some states.
All of which brings the subject back to so-called ‘COVID passports.’
“Anything is on the table,” Fauci said. “Anything is possible, of course.”
Asked whether vaccinated people could still spread the disease, Fauci couldn’t say.
“We don’t know that yet. We do not know if the vaccines that prevent clinical disease also prevent infection. They very well might, but we have not proven that yet,” he told Newsweek.
Fauci did say there is the distinct possibility that people who do get vaccinated will no longer be as concerned about practicing COVID mitigation such as wearing a mask and socially distancing.
“That’s the reason why I keep saying that even though you get vaccinated, we should not eliminate, at all, public health measures like wearing masks because we don’t know yet what the effect [of the vaccine] is on transmissibility,” he told the legacy news magazine.
“We don’t know that vaccinating people prevents infection. We certainly know that it [vaccination] prevents symptomatic disease, we don’t know if it prevents infection.”
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