On October 8, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced which vaccines will be acceptable for travel to the United States once the Biden administration lifts the COVID-19 travel bans. This follows the administration’s September 20 announcement that it will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran and South Africa. The administration signaled it would replace the bans with a vaccine mandate for most foreign international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans. The administration, however, has not stated which vaccines would be accepted until now.
The CDC announced that the six vaccines that are FDA-authorized or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization will meet the criteria for travel to the United States. Those six vaccines are:
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
- AstraZeneca, including Covishield
- Sinopharm (Beijing)
Many other details regarding the new protocols are still unknown, including when the new rules will go into effect. While the administration has targeted early November, no official date has been announced. The administration also has not explained how foreign travelers will be expected to prove vaccine status or whether travelers who are partially vaccinated, or have received a mixture of vaccines, will be cleared to travel to the United States. The CDC indicated that it would release additional guidance and information as the travel requirements are finalized.