The United States’ national public-health agency says it will now recognize travellers who have received doses of different COVID-19 vaccines to be fully vaccinated, paving the way for foreigners including Canadians to enter the U.S. under new rules taking effect in November.
On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it had updated its guidance to say that any individuals with mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be considered inoculated as long as the vaccines are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or on the World Health Organization’s emergency-use list. These lists cover all the vaccines used in Canada.
“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,” spokeswoman Kristin Nordlund said in a statement.
Separately, the United States announced that fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans will be able to cross into the U.S. via the land border as of Nov. 8. That’s when new rules will take effect requiring incoming travellers arriving by land or air to be fully vaccinated.
The Nov. 8 start date announced Friday by the White House comes a full three months after Canada initially began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents back across the border in August.
The CDC’s ruling means no obstacles for millions of Canadians to visit the United States this fall and winter. More than 3.9 million Canadians have received mixed doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to data from Health Canada.
The U.S. Travel Association has estimated the Mexican and Canadian border closings have been costing American businesses US$1.5-billion in travel service exports – domestic spending by foreign visitors – every month.
Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March, 2020, to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Nov. 8, the United States will also admit fully vaccinated foreign air travellers from the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The unprecedented U.S. restrictions have barred non-U.S. citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.
Non-U.S. air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight, and will need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing at a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative test.
The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to go into quarantine.
With files from The Canadian Press and Reuters
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