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Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said in an interview with the Skimm out Monday that he would support mandating the coronavirus vaccine for people traveling by air.

What they're saying: “I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people, that you should be vaccinated,” Fauci says in a video the site tweeted, along with the caption: “Would you support vaccine mandates for airline travel?”

  • An administration official later clarified to Axios that Fauci, who is the president's chief medical adviser, meant that he would support a mandate.

"The solution we have at our hands is vaccines," Fauci says in the video.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Why it matters: Fauci's comments come on the heels of President Biden's announcement of a six-pronged plan to curb the spread of the virus, including aggressive mandates on vaccinations and testing.

  • Some airlines — like United, Frontier and Hawaiian — have already begun requiring their workforce, but not passengers, to inoculate themselves against the virus.

Worth noting: White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said the administration is "not taking any measures off the table" at a briefing last week when asked if the administration is considering a mandate for air travel.

  • “Overall, I think we have a very strong track record that shows that we’re pulling available levers to require vaccination."

Go deeper

Updated Dec 23, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court schedules Jan. 7 oral arguments on Biden's vaccine mandates

President Biden during a meeting at the White House on Dec. 22. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will hold oral arguments on Jan. 7 to consider legal challenges to President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers and large companies.

Why it matters: The mandates have faced a series of lawsuits from Republican-led states, businesses and religious coalitions.

Dec 22, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado bucks air travel trends

Expand chart
Data: Airlines for America; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Unlike most of the country, Colorado was one of the few places in the U.S. where the number of scheduled flights departing in January 2022 will outpace pre-pandemic levels.

Details: Outbound flights here jumped by 3 percentage points compared to January 2019, according to recent data from Airlines for America, which advocates for U.S. airlines.

Biden: It's "your patriotic duty" to get vaccinated

President Biden told unvaccinated Americans Tuesday that getting the COVID vaccine is "your patriotic duty" and "an obligation to your country."

Why it matters: Biden's remarks come amid a surge in new cases largely driven by the Omicron variant, which is now the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S.