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The White House on Thursday stated a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for domestic travel continues to be on the table as the United States heads into the winter months and battles the new omicron variant, saying the Biden administration will proceed to “evaluate and assess on a daily basis.”

President Biden on Thursday is ready to formally announce a sequence of steps to take on COVID-19, together with a requirement for all worldwide passengers flying to the U.S. to check for COVID inside 24 hours of departure – no matter vaccination standing – and an extension of its masks requirement on all domestic flights and public transportation.


White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday was requested whether or not a vaccine requirement could be added for passengers touring on domestic flights.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily news briefing at the White House on Dec. 2, 2021, in Washington.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks throughout a day by day information briefing at the White House on Dec. 2, 2021, in Washington.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“I would say that nothing is off the table, so, including domestic travel,” Psaki stated, noting that there are “some strong protections in place already, including the requirement of mask wearing.”

The White House is ready to prolong the masks mandate to March 18, including a doubling of fines if people are noncompliant with the requirement. The present masks mandate was slated to expire on Jan. 18 following an extension final August.

The masks requirement has contributed to a spike in altercations on flights and different types of public transportation. Last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered the Justice Department to improve its efforts to prosecute unruly passengers.

“We base our decisions on the advice of the health and medical experts,” Psaki stated, noting that officers are taking a look at “a range of factors as we make decisions about what steps we can put in place.” 

“Again, nothing’s off the table,” Psaki added.

Holiday travelers walk through the Miami International Airport on Nov. 23, 2021.

Holiday vacationers stroll via the Miami International Airport on Nov. 23, 2021.
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

And White House coronavirus activity pressure coordinator Jeffrey Zients this week was requested throughout an interview on MSNBC a couple of potential domestic flight vaccine requirement –  one thing he, too, left as an choice.

“We do have those tight requirements on the international travel, we have the workplace requirements, we’ll continue to look at all options and everything’s on the table,” Zients stated.


The adjustments in travel and masks requirements come as public well being officers have expressed concern about the omicron variant, the newest mutant pressure of COVID-19.

Biden, final week, restricted travel from South Africa and 7 different international locations over issues of the “heavily mutated” omicron variant of COVID-19 – a transfer he stated Monday provides the United States “time.” 

As for travel bans from different nations reporting instances of the omicron variant, the White House stated it’s persevering with to “assess on a daily basis,” and that the president will “always err on the side of protecting the American people.” 

“The decision to put in specific travel restrictions from a set of countries was made based on the recommendation of our health and medical team and based on the fact that there were hundreds, if not thousands, of cases that we were seeing in South Africa and concerned about in neighboring countries,” Psaki stated. “So that was a decision that was made at that time – no one wants that to be permanent.” 

She added that the administration is assessing whether or not “additional restrictions need to be put in place.”

But this week, a California resident who was vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 was confirmed as the first U.S. case of the omicron variant.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday additionally recognized a second case of the variant in the United States – a Minnesota resident who had traveled to New York.

As for the menace that the omicron poses, Psaki on Thursday stated there may be “a lot we don’t know.”

“And that is challenging, and frustrating, I understand, for Americans, for all of you,” Psaki stated. “And we want to give the space and time for the public health officials who are working 24/7 to assess and provide guidance on it.”

She added: “It could be less deadly, it could be more. We don’t know.”

Meanwhile, the White House careworn that the new measures are applied primarily based on what officers imagine is “going to be most effective.” 

“We’ve continued to add and make vaccines and boosters more available and accessible,” Psaki stated. “So we will continue to evaluate and assess on a daily basis.”