Dr. Anthony Fauci told Newsweek this week that “everything will be on the table for discussion” in the Biden administration in terms of the Chinese coronavirus, although he said he is “not sure” if vaccines will be mandatory “from a central government standpoint.”
“I’m not sure it’s going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates,” the 80-year-old immunologist said. “But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it.”
Fauci expressed the belief that schools or local institutions could mandate the vaccine while adding that it is “possible” that proof of vaccination could be required for international travelers. “Everything will be on the table for discussion” with a Biden administration, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, although he noted that he is not the one making the decisions.
“But these are all things that will be discussed,” he said.
However, Fauci “doesn’t believe there will be a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate because ‘we almost never mandate things federally [with regards to health],’” the outlet reported.
“For example, influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines are mandated at many hospitals. Here at the NIH, I would not be allowed to see patients if I didn’t get vaccinated every year with flu and get vaccinated once with Hepatitis,” he said, explaining that he has to get certified annually.
“If I didn’t, I couldn’t see patients,” he added, noting that he would “not be surprised” to see some companies, hospitals, and other entities require the vaccination.
It is “possible,” he continued, explaining that schools could mandate the vaccine, but he noted that the decision will likely come from the local level.
As he has in multiple interviews, Fauci added that public health measures, such as social distancing and masking, should not be disregarded by individuals who receive the vaccine, as “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 added.
“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,” Fauci said.
In a Thursday appearance on MSNBC, Fauci predicted that the U.S. could reach a degree of normality by fall 2021 but stressed that it is largely dependent on vaccine rollout and Americans continuing to adhere to public health measures.