US to Accept WHO-Approved COVID-19 Vaccines for International Visitors - CDC

© REUTERS / Dado RuvicVials labelled "AstraZeneca, Pfizer - Biontech, Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021.
Vials labelled AstraZeneca, Pfizer - Biontech, Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.10.2021
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US' national public health agency, said Friday it would begin accepting all COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use.
"Six vaccines that are FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] authorized/approved or listed for emergency use by WHO will meet the criteria for travel to the US," a spokesperson for the CDC told Reuters.

At present, the WHO has approved six vaccines for emergency use. Three are already in use in the US: Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine, Moderna's, and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine. The rule change will now also include the regular Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as the specific formulation used by India's Serum Institute, known by the name CoviShield; China's two most popular vaccines, Sinopharm's BiBP vaccine and SinoVac's CoronaVac vaccine, are also included.

A WHO spokesperson said earlier on Friday the international health agency was "near" to approving the Sputnik V vaccine, made by Russia's Gamaleya Institute. Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said last week that only paperwork remained.
The rule change means international visitors who received a number of COVID-19 vaccines not available in the United States will now be recognized as being vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This will open up travel to the US as well as entry to venues that require proof of vaccination, which has been mandated in several US cities and implemented on an ad hoc basis at venues in many others.
Last week, the White House announced that in November, travelers from the European Union, China, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and India would be allowed to enter the country again, provided they can demonstrate proof of vaccination. Aside from a select few countries, including Mexico, Canada, Japan, and Singapore, travel to the United States during the 18 months since the pandemic began has been almost totally restricted.
Worldwide, about 3.64 billion people have been immunized against COVID-19, or 47.5% of humanity, according to data compiled by the New York Times. Of them, 1.1 billion are Chinese, the vast majority of whom will no longer be barred from the US on account of vaccination status. Further, about 77% of total shots have gone to residents of middle and upper-income countries, while just 0.5% have gone to lower-income countries.
While aside from the unapproved Sputnik V, the vaccines now approved are the most widely used around the globe. However, several other vaccines are also in use in smaller numbers, ranging from Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine being used in seven countries, including India where it was developed, to others used just in the country where they were developed, such as Kazakhstan's QazVac and Iran's COVIran Barakat. None of the five vaccines developed by Cuba, which are beginning to be shipped to other countries like Venezuela and Iran, have been approved by the WHO.
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