The Trump administration’s decision to mandate all Americans receive a vaccine against swine flu, which the World Health Organization has already declared unnecessary and unsafe for children, has been met with pushback from health experts.
Dr. Fauci is wrong on a domestic air travel vaccination mandate because he ignores key facts about American public opinion and scientific data.
The “are airlines requiring Covid vaccine for passengers” is a question that has been asked many times. Dr. Fauci, a consultant to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, said that domestic air travel should be mandatory for all passengers who are flying from countries where there is an outbreak of measles or other infectious diseases. Read more in detail here: are airlines requiring covid vaccine for passengers.
Why Dr. Fauci Is Wrong About Mandating Vaccines for Domestic Air Travel
on December 27, 2021 by Gary Leff
For many days, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been making the rounds on public affairs shows, discussing the need of vaccinations for domestic travel. He underlines that overseas travel is necessary in each instance to keep viral cases out of the country (but unvaccinated Americans are allowed to return, and the virus is already spreading here rapidly).
Fauci goes on to say that requiring vaccines for internal travel would be a good idea, not to ‘keep the virus out,’ but to provide an incentive to be vaccinated. For the last 37 years, Fauci has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His remarks aren’t made on the spur of the moment. However, in addition to being legally dubious, such a rule might have the very opposite impact that Fauci is hoping for.
In case you missed it this morning on @MSNBC @Morning Joe, Dr. Fauci discussed the possibility of requiring vaccinations for domestic plane travel: “I believe it’s something that should be carefully explored if you want to do that with domestic flights.” pic.twitter.com/NZVDmt8UYK
December 27, 2021 — Ross Feinstein (@RossFeinstein)
I’d be all for it since people who have been vaccinated and boosted with mRNA vaccines are less likely to get sick, clear the virus faster, and have virus coated with antibodies when they are infectious. To put it another way, being surrounded entirely by vaccinated people would make traveling safer for me.
However, I am not a fan of it due of the following reasons:
- The United States is not seeking, and has never been pursuing, a zero covid approach that would at the very least make domestic travel restrictions consistent.
- Because the virus is already widespread in the nation, restricting travel to people who have been vaccinated would not ‘prevent spread.’
- And breakthrough instances do exist; persons who have been vaccinated do get the virus and disseminate it, although at a lesser rate than those who have not.
- Flying is no less safe than other indoor congregant hobbies that are not subject to the same regulatory restrictions.
- And the Supreme Court has always maintained that interstate travel is a basic right. 73 U.S. 35 (1868); United States v. Guest, 383 U.S. 745; Crandall v. Nevada, 73 U.S. 35 (1868). (1966). While the court has not identified a specific right to certain modes of transportation, restricting air travel from New York to California or Miami to Seattle would be a significant infringement on these rights.
Because there are basic rights at stake, there would have to be carveouts at the very least to preserve religious liberty and people who are unable to acquire vaccination protection. That implies either putting the burden of granting or denying vaccination exemptions on airlines, or establishing a government vaccine passport and exemption system.
Of course, the information on who is and isn’t vaccinated is mostly kept at the state level, and there’s no good way to do it at the federal level. The CDC is having trouble keeping track of boosters vs. initial doses. This is impossible due to our federal structure and data concerns.
Fauci’s ‘motivation to be vaccinated’ argument, on the other hand, falls flat. That’s because he’s no longer discussing vaccine science, but rather human psychology and the marginal advantages of political decisions. Public health officials in the United States have continually screwed up communications, resulting in counterproductive outcomes, and they’d do the same here.
- There’s hardly much left to urge in terms of marginal immunization. Ninety percent of Americans aged 65 to 74 are completely immunized, while 85 percent of those aged 75 and above are. Over 80% of individuals in the United States have had a shot. As current vaccination regulations take effect and Omicron expands, that number is likely to grow to 80%. There will always be some vaccination refusals in whatever scenario — this was true even before the epidemic. And not everyone has the ability to fly.
- This might backfire, leading to even greater distrust about immunizations in general. Fauci is correct that requiring vaccination for domestic air travel would result in a small number of individuals becoming vaccinated. However, this comes at a tremendous cost in terms of rights and involves a large amount of bureaucracy in order to travel, all for a little marginal advantage. And it’s likely to increase vaccine resistance across the board, not just for this vaccination, but for all vaccines. As a result, there is a public health cost.
- It’s possible that there are more effective options. When Congress passed stimmies to the majority of Americans earlier this year, I advocated that payments should be attached to vaccination. Domestic air travel is a priority for Fauci because there is some federal jurisdiction here, not because it is the most powerful lever to pull. Other requirements are being pursued by the Biden administration, which the Supreme Court will review in early January. They haven’t yet experimented with big monetary incentives to persuade remaining holdouts to accept a comparable marginal increase.
- Boosters are a better public-health tactic than pushing vaccinations on remaining skeptics. At this stage, clear, consistent message about booster shots is considerably more beneficial than forcing a first dose on individuals who refuse to take one. And the government has already messed up, with the FDA advisory council voting against boosters for everyone because Biden promised them, seeming to undermine their authority.
We know from Omicron statistics that boosters provide greater protection than first and second doses, and boosters may have an impact on the current Omicron wave, but injecting needles into the arms of individuals who haven’t received a first injection is unlikely to do so (because of the waiting period after each shot to get the next dose).
In the face of the federal government’s reluctance to take meaningful measures to alleviate the epidemic, a domestic air travel vaccination mandate would mostly be for show. The government has taken 21 months to prioritize testing, and they are still going too slowly. It’s difficult to understand why the government didn’t intervene months ago with multibillion-dollar at-risk orders for Paxlovid to speed up production.
I’d want to travel only with people who have been vaccinated, and only with those who have been tested the same day (not the day before). However, this is not the ideal method to handle air travel or the pandemic in terms of public policy. Encourage boosters, expedite multivalent boosters, and conduct research on next-generation vaccinations (including pan-coronavirus vaccines). And, rather than hundreds of millions of tests, let us swiftly approve billions of them so that we may all test routinely before engaging with others. Passengers who test positive may even be eligible for a waiver of fines on basic economy tickets.
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The “airlines not requiring vaccine for passengers” is a new law that has been passed by the US government. Dr. Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claims that this will be a disaster and cause an outbreak in future.
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