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Biden Administration Retains COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements For International Travel But Slightly Eases Rules

Biden Administration Retains COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements For International Travel But Slightly Eases Rules

The Biden administration has decided to keep a requirement for foreign international visitors to the United States to show proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19, marking out the U.S. from pretty much every other country that has ditched pandemic travel restrictions.

The proof of vaccination rule was introduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October 2021 as a way for President Biden to lift a near complete ban on foreign visitors entering the United States while still appearing to take the pandemic seriously.

Ever since that time, countries around the world have listened to medical experts who have determined that various travel restrictions, like vaccination rules or pre-travel testing, have little to no value at this point in the pandemic and have dismantled unhelpful rules.

Despite being marked out as an outlier in retaining pandemic-era travel restrictions, the Biden administration is yet to abandon its longstanding vaccination rule.

The CDC has, though, slightly eased the rules for a small number of potential travellers. Until now, the CDC required travellers to have had a full dose of a single-shot vaccine or two shots of a two-dose vaccine. Travellers had to wait 14 days after their final shot to be considered fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, however, the CDC said it now considers anyone who had a single dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine any time after August 16, 2022, to be fully vaccinated. The 14-day window still applies.

The reason is that this is the point at which Pfizer and Moderna made bivalent vaccines available, which protect against more strains of COVID-19.

It remains the responsibility of airlines to check that a traveller complies with the vaccination rules, and the effort that airlines go to actually do this can vary massively from airline to airline.

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