The United States confirmed it will accept travelers who have received mix-and-match vaccination doses when it updates its travel policy on November 8. The new policy requires adult international visitors to be fully inoculated against COVID-19 before traveling. If you've a trip to the US on the horizon, here's what you need to know about accepted vaccinations and how to present proof before travel.
Read more: The latest USA health and safety information
Mix and match COVID-19 vaccinations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that it will accept mix-and-match COVID-19 doses from international travelers from November 8. Mix-and-match doses are vaccination jabs where the second or third shot a patient receives is from a different manufacturer than the prior dose, i.e. a patient might have received an AstraZeneca dose as their first shot and then a Moderna dose as their second shot. It's a common practice in Canada and other places, although not so much in the US.
"While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records," a CDC spokeswoman confirmed.
Vaccines accepted for travel to the US
US president Joe Biden confirmed on Monday that any vaccination approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use will be sufficient for travel. Those vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Sinopharm, Sinovac and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab.
Vaccinated outside the U.S.? You’re considered fully vaccinated if you’ve received 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine or ANY combination of 2 doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 vaccine. Get more details: https://t.co/c77NSS286y. pic.twitter.com/7ofy0jbbLr
— CDC (@CDCgov) October 27, 2021
How to present proof of vaccination
All adult international travelers will need to present proof of vaccination to their airline before boarding their flight to the US. The White House confirmed that an official vaccination certificate issued by a public health or government agency will be adequate proof. So for most Europeans, that will be their EU digital COVID certificates; for Canadians it's the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination card; for Mexicans it's the official immunization certificate issued by the Mexican government etc.
Travelers crossing into the US by land will need to show their vaccination certificates at border checks from November 8 too.
Read more: How to manage vaccine certifications and COVID-19 passports for international travel
How to know you're fully vaccinated
To be considered fully vaccinated for travel to the US, at least two weeks must have passed since your second dose of an accepted vaccine (or two weeks after your first shot if you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
If you received a booster shot (a third dose), at least two weeks must have passed since that dose was administered to you.
Children under the age of 18 are not required to be vaccinated to travel to the US, nor are unvaccinated adults to who cannot be immunized due to medical conditions, such as allergies. Returning US citizens and permanent residents do not need to be vaccinated either. All arrivals will be subject to testing requirements though, regardless of vaccination status.
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