Biden Administration Says Sputnik Vaccine Won’t Count for International Travelers Hoping to Visit America

·2 min read

The Biden administration has released additional details on its plan to require international travelers to prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, issuing a presidential proclamation on Monday that outlines the process.

According to senior administration officials, almost all non-citizen visitors traveling to the United States by air after November 8 will be required to provide proof of vaccination status to airline officials prior to boarding a flight—although some vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and others that have not been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, won’t qualify.

“Vaccines will be accepted that include the FDA-approved or authorized vaccines, and the World Health Organization’s list of emergency use listings,” a senior administration official told reporters in a briefing ahead of the policy’s announcement.

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There will be “very limited exceptions” to the proof-of-vaccination requirement, the administration added, including for children under 18 years old and travelers coming from countries with less than a 10 percent total vaccination rate due to a lack of vaccine availability. Those travelers, with the exception of children under the age of two, will still be required to show a negative COVID-19 test in order to travel—as will adults who have been vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention will also require airlines to keep track of “basic, valid contact information” for all international travelers, the official said, for purposes of contract tracing in the event of an outbreak.

The CDC is also issuing a Contact Tracing Order that requires all airlines flying into the United States to keep on hand—and promptly turn over to the CDC, when needed—contact information that will allow public health officials to follow up with inbound air travelers who are potentially infected or have been exposed to someone who is infected.

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