Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a Friday interview with Newsweek that it’s “quite possible” the COVID-19 vaccine could be required for travel and schooling in the near future.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ― who is set to serve as President-elect Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser ― said that “anything is on the table,” including COVID-19 vaccine passports similar to the so-called “Yellow Card.”
Formally known as the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, the Yellow Card is issued by the World Health Organization and used as travel documentation for vaccines against illnesses such as cholera.
Fauci said the COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to be required from a federal-government perspective, echoing remarks that Biden made in a press conference on Dec. 4.
At the time, Biden said he didn’t believe vaccines should be mandatory nationwide, but that he would do everything to “encourage people to do the right thing.”
“There are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it,” Fauci said. “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 ... So in that regard I would not be surprised, as we get into the full scope of vaccination, that some companies, some hospitals, some organizations might require vaccination.”
Fauci also said that mandatory vaccinations at schools are “possible, but that’s something that’s mandated at the state level and city level.”
The disease expert stressed that vaccinations are not a simple cure-all for the pandemic, which has killed over 1.8 million people worldwide.
“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,” Fauci said.
Read the full interview with Newsweek here.