US to admit visitors immunized with WHO-accepted vaccines, such as CoronaVac, says Reuters

The US government will now accept international visitors who are immunized with any Covid-19 vaccine recognized as effective by the World Health Organization (WHO), a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the Reuters agency late this Friday. With the decision, visitors who have taken the complete cycle of two doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine will be able to enter US territory, according to the news agency.

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WHO currently recognizes six vaccines as effective against Covid-19: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen, Oxford/AstraZeneca, CoronaVac and Sinopharm. Of these, only the first three were accepted by the US government.

The rule change will now also include the common Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the specific formulation used by India’s Serum Institute, known by the name CoviShield. The two most popular vaccines in China, Sinopharm’s vaccine and SinoVac’s CoronaVac vaccine — applied in Brazil, produced by the Butantan Institute — are also included.

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The decision does not include the Sputnik V vaccine, manufactured by the Russian government, which is not recognized as effective by the WHO.

Beginning in early November, the US government will lift restrictions on entry into the country for foreigners who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including passengers from Brazil and 32 other territories, ending an implemented travel ban. for more than a year to limit the spread of the disease internally. Travelers will have to submit a negative test for the coronavirus taken up to three days before the flight, the White House reported on Sept. 20.

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The rule change to be adopted next month will benefit all 33 countries that had been suffering restrictions on air travel to the US, including the 26 European nations in the Schengen Zone, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, in addition to the United Kingdom, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

For now, Brazilians or travelers who were in Brazil in the 14 days prior to the flight are still unable to enter the US, unless they make a two-week stopover in a third country from which it is possible to enter US territory directly, such as Mexico and the Republic Dominican. The current rule does not apply to US permanent residents or US citizens and includes exceptions for diplomats, employees of international organizations and students enrolled in the US.

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According to the White House Pandemic Response Coordinator, the new system will include the collection of contact tracking data from passengers traveling to the US to allow the CDC to contact travelers exposed to Covid.

On Friday, the CDC said that “early this week, to help prepare their systems, we will inform airlines” about the vaccines that will be accepted, adding: “The CDC will release additional guidance and information as soon as travel requirements are met. are finalized”.

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Airlines for America, a trade group representing American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and others, said it was “delighted with the CDC’s decision to approve a list of authorized vaccinations for travelers entering the United States. work with the government to implement this new global vaccination and testing framework by early November 2021.”

Some countries pressured the Biden government to accept WHO-approved vaccines, as vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (US health surveillance agency) are not widely used in all countries.

The new Covid-19 vaccine requirements now apply to nearly all foreigners who fly to the United States — including those not subject to the previous restrictions.

The CDC must also detail rules for exceptions, which include children not yet eligible for vaccines, as well as for visitors to countries where vaccines are not widely available. The government must also decide whether to admit visitors who are part of the Covid-19 clinical trials or those who have recently contracted the disease, as both groups are not yet eligible for vaccination.