Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said he expects the coronavirus vaccination to be mandatory in some institutions in the future.
In an interview with Newsweek published Friday, Fauci said he’s “sure” institutions like hospitals will mandate the vaccine.
“I’m not sure [the vaccine is] going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates,” he said. “But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it.”
Fauci pointed to his own experience with the National Institutes of Health, which mandates all employees and contractors receive yearly influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines.
“I have to get certified every year,” he told Newsweek. “If I didn’t, I couldn’t see patients. So in that regard, I would not be surprised, as we get into the full scope of [COVID-19] vaccination, that some companies, some hospitals, some organizations might require [COVID-19] vaccination.”
Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also said schools might be among the institutions that mandate the vaccine. It is also “quite possible,” he said, that the vaccine will be required for travel to and from the United States.
“Everything will be on the table for discussion” within the incoming Biden administration, he said. The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision to standardize the vaccine as a travel requirement is not one that Fauci can make, he said. But he thinks it would be a smart move, he told Newsweek.
“Yellow fever’s a good example. So we, in this country, don’t require [people] to get a yellow fever vaccine when you go [to] some place. It’s the place to which you are going that requires it,” he said. “I went to Liberia during the ebola outbreak. I had to get my yellow fever vaccine or they would not let me into Liberia.”
In the United States, about 3.5 million doses have been given out since the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines.
Business Insider’s Susie Neilson previously reported that the vaccine rollout has been slower than anticipated, and at this rate, it will take nine years to reach widespread vaccination.
On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden criticized the slow rollout of vaccines.
“The effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware. At this rate, he said, “it’s going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people.”
*story by Business Insider