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What’s in the New Travel Rules?

As we mentioned yesterday, the Biden administration has eased international travel restrictions and put together new rules designed to keep COVID-19 at bay, according to Reuters.

The background: Back in early 2020, the previous administration created stringent travel bans that barred most non-U.S. citizens from traveling to the United States if they had recently been in any of a range of countries including Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran, Brazil and 26 European countries. Recently, the Biden administration relaxed those rules, saying that non-U.S. citizens who are fully vaccinated will now be able to travel to the United States.

The vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that any vaccine authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization would be acceptable, although that list leaves out the Russian-made Sputnik vaccine. The CDC will also allow travelers who have received a mixed dose of acceptable vaccines to travel to the United States.

  • The Sputnik vaccine has been commonly used in Latin America, with Mexico planning to inoculate about 9% of its population with the vaccine. The Biden administration says it will be reviewing other major vaccines as performance data “becomes available.”

The details: The new rules offer exemptions in a limited number of cases:

  • “Children under 18 are exempt from the new vaccine requirements as are people with some medical issues.”
  • “Non-tourist travelers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10% will also be eligible for exemption from the rules. Those receiving an exemption will generally need to be vaccinated within 60 days after arriving in the United States. Those countries include Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Armenia, Myanmar, Iraq, Nicaragua, Senegal, Uganda, Libya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Congo, Kenya, Yemen, Haiti, Chad and Madagascar.”

Contact tracing: “The CDC issued on Monday new contact tracing rules requiring airlines to collect information from international air passengers like phone numbers, email and U.S. addresses and retain it for 30 days in case it needed ‘to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens.’”

Get your shot: Learn more about what the NAM is doing to encourage vaccinations in our communities at This Is Our Shot.

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