No official word yet on which vaccines will be accepted by U.S

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There has been no official word on which COVID-19 vaccines will be accepted by the United States (US) come November when the country rolls out its new travel requirements for foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated before travel.

There have been suggestions that the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine would be among those vaccines that would not be recognised when these travel requirements are rolled out, since the Sputnik V vaccines and some others have not yet received emergency use authorisation from the World Health Organization (WHO).

But Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Georgetown Violeta Talandis told the News Room that there has been no official announcement yet as to which COVID-19 vaccines will be accepted as part of the White House announcement last week.

“We are looking to [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] to guide which vaccines will be accepted, as part of their standard role in determining who is considered fully vaccinated for the purposes of recommended or required international travel protocols,” she clarified.

And indeed, checks made by the News Room revealed that no official announcement on which vaccines will be accepted has been made. No specific date for the rollout of these new vaccine requirements has been stated either.

The announcement of the new travel requirements was made by White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients. During a White House briefing, he said that the US will reopen to fully vaccinated travellers from a number of countries from “early November”.

Subsequently, a report from the Washington Post in the US suggested that vaccines that have not yet been approved by the WHO or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as the Sputnik V vaccines, would not be recognised under the new requirements for foreign nationals.

As such, foreign nationals who may consider themselves fully vaccinated will be “shut out” from the US. The article from the Washington Post, however, cited the information from “new US plan” for travel, indicating that the US news outlet may have seen the plan. The post also pointed out that the vaccines approved for emergency use by the WHO and FDA include the Pfizer, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines.

This has raised concerns among many people, including Guyanese who have been vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine. Advisor to the Health Ministry Dr. Leslie Ramsammy recently told the News Room that the government is exploring several solutions, including possible revaccination of people to allow the free movement of people, however.

Until these new arrangements are instituted, however, Guyanese can enter the US with a negative antigen test and there is no quarantine requirement.

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