Despite the return of domestic travel demand, international travel in the US remained weak. However, this could change in a matter of weeks. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday that immunized foreign travelers who received certain vaccines can fly to the US by November. The vaccines should be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or World Health Organization.
Immunized Foreign Travelers
CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey said that the agency informed the airlines earlier this week of their plan to accept immunized foreign travelers vaccinated by WHO-approved or FDA-approved vaccines. This will give the airline industry time to prepare. She said that “we informed airlines that the vaccines that are FDA authorized/approved or listed for emergency use by WHO will meet the criteria for travel to the US”.
The FDA approved three COVID19 vaccines for emergency use. This included Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer-BioNTech. However, the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval in August.
As for WHO-approved vaccines, the agency approved the three vaccines plus Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac vaccines.
A New Travel System in November
The US announced in September that there will be a new international air travel system by “early November”. However, the US didn’t announce the exact date.
Foreign travelers entering the US will have to show proof of vaccination. Also, travelers will need to test negative three days before departure.
According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, unvaccinated children will have to undergo stricter testing requirements. Currently, children aged 2 years old and up also need to show a negative COVID19 test three days before boarding.
However, CDC’s new announcement is still unclear whether this applies to individuals who received mixed doses of the vaccines. Canada is one of the few countries that allowed mixed vaccine types. More than 3.9 million Canadians received different COVID19 vaccines approved by Health Canada. Around 1.6 million received the AstraZeneca vaccine and an mRNA vaccine.