Mandatory Covid-19 vaccines? ‘Everything is on the table,’ says Dr. Fauci

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Dr. Anthony Fauci believes vaccinations against Covid-19 could be mandated by “individual institutions” and for travel, though he’s unsure if the vaccine prevents the spread and wants people to keep wearing masks.

“Everything will be on the table for discussion,” Fauci told Newsweek, on being asked about vaccines being required at local levels, as well as for travel.

Although he doesn’t believe there will be a “federal mandate” for the vaccine, because “we almost never mandate things federally” when it comes to health issues, Fauci does believe “individual institutions” will legislate for it and require proof of vaccination.

“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,” he said. 

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If sufficient numbers of hospitals and enough organizations require vaccinations, there would be no need for a federal mandate, as such actions would have similar effects. 

Despite all the talk of vaccines, the infectious diseases expert can’t confirm with certainty whether the vaccines currently available protect people from spreading the virus. As a result, certain public health measures enacted during the pandemic, such as social distancing, mask wearing and limited travel, should remain in place, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force member.

“That’s the reason I keep saying that, even though we get vaccinated, we should not eliminate public health measures like wearing masks, because we don’t know yet what the effect [of the vaccine] is on transmissibility,” he said. 

More than three million people in the US have thus far been vaccinated for Covid-19.