A health worker passes by the area where people get vaccine at University Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., December 15, 2020.
  • Once curb is lifted, travellers won’t be required to show vaccination proof.
  • Decision taken in view of decline in number of COVID-19 deaths.
  • Single dose requirement for certain international travelers to remain in place.

The United States will drop the vaccination mandate for international visitors, as well as federal workers from May 11 after which, foreigners traveling to the country will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination, The White House said on Monday.

As per the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines, foreign travellers were earlier required to have received two doses of a vaccine that required two primary doses, to be considered fully vaccinated.

But last week, the CDC announced easing certain requirements for international visitors under which, those boarding flights to the US will be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting a single shot of Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine, a report published by CNN stated.

“Today, we are announcing that the Administration will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends,” a statement released by The White House read.

The decision to drop the requirement had been taken while keeping in view the decline in the number of hospitalisations, and COVID-19 death rate in the US as well as globally.

However, the statement added that it was keeping in place the CDC’s single dose requirement “for certain international travelers to slow the spread of new variants entering the country and to allow our healthcare system time to effectively manage access to care if faced with an increase in cases and hospitalisations”.

In February, the US House of Representatives voted to lift the requirement that most foreign air travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the few remaining pandemic travel restrictions still in place.

The Biden administration last June dropped its requirement that people arriving in the US by air must test negative for COVID but kept in place CDC vaccination requirements for most foreign travelers.

It may be noted that the restrictions barred Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic from taking part in some US tournaments last year due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19. However, the US decision to lift the curb will allow him to enter the country freely from May 12 and play in major tournaments like US Open

Following the announcement by The White House, US’ Homeland Security Department also said that it will no longer require non-US travelers seeking entry into the country via land ports and ferries to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Additional input from Reuters.

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