‘Nothing is off the table’: Psaki does not rule out potential for vaccine or testing mandate for domestic air travel

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday that a vaccine or testing mandate for domestic air travelers remains on the table as a possible move to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding to a questioner who mentioned the idea of requiring either vaccination or a negative test for domestic air travel, Psaki said that “nothing is off the table … including domestic travel.”

She said that “we base our decisions on the advice of the health and medical experts, what’s going to be most effective and … what is most implementable. So we look at a range of factors as we make decisions about what steps we can put in place.”


Jen Psaki holds White House press briefing

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The administration is extending a mandate that requires most people to wear face masks in various transit-related locations such as in airports, and aboard airplanes, trains, and buses. “The Transportation Security Administration will extend its implementing orders to maintain these requirements through March 18,” the White House states.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63.4% of the U.S. population, consisting of individuals ages 5-years-old and above, has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 75% of that demographic has received at least one dose.

Concerns have been sparked by a new COVID-19 variant known as Omicron.

A confirmed COVID-19 case caused by that variant was detected in a person in California who had recently been to South Africa, according to the CDC. That person “had mild symptoms that are improving,” the CDC noted.

A Minnesota resident who had attended a convention in New York City contracted COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant but has recovered, the CDC has also reported.

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