The efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been under the microscope several times over the last year, with fears of blood clots and other side effects damaging the reputation of the jab in the UK. More recently, UK travellers vaccinated with the Indian-made AstraZeneca dose faced difficulties going to Europe over the summer and were often not able to skip quarantine despite being double-vaccinated.
With the US recently lifting the travel restrictions for visitors from all over the world, AstraZeneca-vaccinated Britons might be wondering if their vaccination status will cause issues for travel to the US from the UK, especially as the American government has not approved the use of the vaccine within the country.
Here is all you need to know on the US travel ban relating to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Will the US accept the AstraZeneca vaccine for travel?
During an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today Program, the White House chief medical officer, Anthony Fauci, addressed questions as to whether the US will accept the AstraZeneca vaccine for travel into the country,
“I think that’s going to be something that needs to be worked out,” Mr Fauci said. “I would imagine it would be, depending on the data that comes in. But right now, depending on the way you presented it, I don’t believe there’s any a priori reason to believe that people who have received the AZ vaccine should feel that there’s going to be any problem with them.”
On October 15th, the CDC confirmed that AstraZeneca is approved by the FDA, including mixed doses of AstraZeneca and another vaccine.
The CDC said "individuals who have any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series are considered fully vaccinated."
"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 continued.
Travel industry leaders had been calling for the US to recognise the AstraZeneca vaccine for months in order to stimulate travel and tourism, but now it seems that the lack of approval will not affect the ability of people to travel to the United States.
Does the US recognise AstraZeneca?
At the moment, the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved for use in the United States by the FDA, after several attempts by the company to gain authorisation. Despite the lack of approval, the US government still ordered 300 million doses of the vaccine as part of $1 billion deal, which were then donated to other countries around the world.
However, the FDA recognises that it has been widely used in other countries and is therefore acceptable in order to gain entry into the country.
American vaccination efforts have been underway with the use of three other vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. AstraZeneca has applied for use a few times, including one application for use in emergency situations but was denied on each occasion.
When can I travel to the USA?
The White House recently announced widespread changes to the travel rules for visitors from all over the world, breaking the 18-month long ban on dozens of places around the globe, including 26 Schengen countries.
It’s now possible for travellers from anywhere in the world to travel to the US, including the UK, provided they fit a few key criteria.