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Dr. Anthony Fauci floated the idea that COVID-19 vaccines could become mandatory in order to attend school or travel internationally.
Fauci noted that the mandatory coronavirus vaccinations would likely be implemented at the state and city level.
“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,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Newsweek.
Fauci also said he “would not be surprised” if some companies, hospitals, and organizations required the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m not sure [the COVID-19 vaccine] going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates,” Fauci continued. “But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it.”
“For example, influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines are mandated at many hospitals,” the immunologist added. “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.”
When asked about the possibility of coronavirus vaccine passports and mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, Fauci said, “Everything will be on the table for discussion.”
Dr. Fauci admitted that the United States federal government could get involved by issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports. The coronavirus immunity passport would allow those who have been vaccinated to move more freely globally without being tested for coronavirus.
“So we, in this country, don’t require [people] to get a yellow fever vaccine when you go someplace. It’s the place to which you are going that requires it,” Fauci said.
Fauci said it is “quite possible” that other countries may require a coronavirus vaccine to grant travel across borders. The White House COVID-19 task force member stated that it would be a “good” development if the COVID-19 vaccine was required for travel. “I mean if everybody gets vaccinated, of course that’s good.”
In December, Israel became the first country to issue a “green passport” to individuals who had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This passport will show that a person is vaccinated and will give a number of advantages such as not needing to quarantine, entry to all kinds of culture events, restaurants, and so on,” Israel’s Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Chezy Levy said.
Fauci was asked if people who are vaccinated could still transmit the virus to others, to which he responded by saying, “That’s a good question. 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.”
This comes at the same time as reports of people testing positive for COVID-19 after receiving the coronavirus vaccine, including a Kentucky auditor, an emergency room doctor out of Georgia, and a 45-year-old ER nurse from California.
Pfizer, the maker of one of the coronavirus vaccines, explained that it can take over a week for the vaccination to start to be effective. The drugmaker also noted that the vaccine is 95% effective only after the second shot, which is administered 21 days after the first shot.
“Based on our Phase 3 safety and efficacy study, the vaccine provides some protection against COVID-19 within about 10 days of the first dose and substantially boosted after the second dose, supporting the need for a 2-dose vaccination series,” Pfizer said.
Fauci acknowledged that he does not have the authority to enact potential mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, “It’s not up to me to make a decision. But these are all things that will be discussed [under the Biden administration].”
In early December, President-elect Joe Biden asked Fauci to stay on and be a chief medical adviser in his administration.
“I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the Covid team,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper.