Travel Vaccine Breaking News

Travel vaccine breaking news brought to you by Vax Before Travel.

Jan 28, 2022 • 10:07 am CST

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) today announced residents and arriving travelers now have two additional COVID-19 vaccines to select as a 'booster.'

PhilStar reported on January 28, 2022, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed the Sinopharm and Sputnik Light vaccines had been authorized for the booster dose program. 

However, the Sinopharm and Sputnik Light vaccines cannot be used as boosters for pregnant and lactating mothers.

Currently, only individuals aged 18 and above may get boosters in the Philippines.

A recent survey indicates there is substantial Philipinos demand for boosters.

A Social Weather Stations survey found about 80% of vaccinated Filipinos were willing to get a COVID-19 booster dose.

Previously, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory stating, 'Make sure you are vaccinated and updated with your COVID-19 vaccinations before traveling to the Philippines.'

And, 'if you are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, avoid travel to the Philippines,' confirmed the January 18, 2022 advisory.

Jan 28, 2022 • 9:19 am CST

The Costa Rica Ministry of Health announced on January 21, 2022, that the drugstore in charge of importing yellow fever vaccines will not have available inventory until the third week of February 2022.

Given this situation, and in compliance with the Decree of Regulations on the International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever (YF), the Ministry announced, to the local population, as well as to the heads of the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners, and the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism, to justify the non-vaccination of the people who live in Costa Rica and who must travel to at-risk areas until February 21, 2022.

The U.S. CDC recently confirmed traveling from a country with risk of YF virus transmission includes children ≥9 months of age. 

This requirement excludes Argentina and Panama but includes Tanzania Zambia.

And the designated areas of the following countries: Colombia (the entire country except for Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena, Medellín and San Andrés Providencia and Bogotá); Ecuador (applies only to Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbíos, and Zamora-Chinchipe, and excludes the rest of the country); Paraguay (the entire country except Asunción, the capital); Peru (the whole country except Lima, the capital, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, Lambayeque, Tumbes, Piura, and Cajamarca); Trinidad and Tobago (the entire country except the urban areas of Port of Spain, and for travelers in transit or whose itineraries are limited to the island of Tobago).

The CDC suggests speaking with a healthcare provider one month before traveling to determine if you need a yellow fever vaccination or a booster shot before your trip.

Jan 26, 2022 • 4:07 pm CST

The U.S. Embassy in Manila announced today all airline passengers heading to the United States ages two years and older, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status or citizenship, must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within one calendar day before travel.  

Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. 

And please visit the U.S. CDC webpage for more information about exceptions and the requirement for proof of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the U.S.

Additionally, the CDC has determined that for entry into the U.S., acceptable COVID-19 vaccines include those U.S. FDA approved/authorized and vaccines Listed by the World Health Organization.

Furthermore, to ensure the health and safety of our clients and our staff, the U.S. Embassy in Manila has rescheduled all non-emergency appointments for U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad through January 31, 2022. 

For more information, see the Embassy's Health Alert issued on January 19, 2022.

And according to the Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, several locations are currently under Alert Level 3 and 4 until January 31, 2022.

The Philippine government has also mandated everyone must wear face masks in public places.  

In addition, the use of face shields is mandatory in medical and quarantine facilities, as well as during Alert Level 5, Enhanced Community Quarantine, and granular lockdowns.

Moreover, a recent presidential order empowers local officials to restrict the movements of unvaccinated individuals in the Philippines.

For more information on applying for an exception through the U.S. Embassy in Manila, visit this webpage

The U.S. Embassy in Manila is located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines 1000. Phone: (632) 5301-2000.

Note: before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of visitors to the U.S. from the Philippines exceeded 310,000 annually.

Jan 26, 2022 • 3:11 pm CST

With the recent downturn in air travel in the USA and internationally, many vacationers are seeking safe and enjoyable options out to sea.

To meet this need, Royal Caribbean International announced on January 19, 2022, the world’s newest cruising innovation, the Wonder of the Seas, will soon unveil a lineup of more than twenty dining venues headlined by the debut of The Mason Jar Southern Restaurant & Bar.

Where southern comfort food meets Royal Caribbean’s hospitality, The Mason Jar invites guests to share a meal, drinks, and memories in a warm, casual setting.

The Mason Jar serves up southern charm sets up the farmhouse-style and rustic decor, live country music, even a cozy porch decked out with a swing for lounging and a great photo op, and a dedicated bar at the center of it all.

The highly anticipated ship sets sail in March 2022, offering passengers an unmatched variety of flavors and tastes.

The Mason Jar is just the beginning, with Wonder serving up a variety of restaurants, bars, and lounges to choose from across eight signature neighborhoods. From Central Park to the all-new Suite Neighborhood – an Oasis Class first – more dining highlights on the upcoming ship.

Setting sail for the first time in March 2022, Wonder will call three marquee destinations home during its inaugural year: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (March-April); Barcelona, Spain, and Rome (April-October); and Port Canaveral, Florida (year-round, starting November).

For more details about Wonder, including sailings now open for bookings, visit Royal Caribbean’s website. 

Note: This news article is not paid-content.

Jan 26, 2022 • 6:21 am CST

In response to a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Embassy in Japan announced today the Japanese government had extended the quasi-state of emergency for an additional 18 prefectures that will remain in effect through February 20, 2022.

These measures will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Hokkaido, Aomori, Yamagata, Fukushima, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Nagano, Shizuoka, Ishikawa, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Okayama, Shimane, Fukuoka, Oita, Saga, and Kagoshima.

Additionally, the previously declared quasi-state of emergency for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Gunma, Niigata, Kagawa, Aichi, Mie, Gifu, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Miyazaki prefectures will remain in effect through February 13.

And Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, and Okinawa prefectures have been extended and will remain in place until February 20.

Furthermore, the number of prefectures in Japan under a quasi-state of emergency may change with little or no notice.

The quasi-state of emergency will allow prefectural governments to impose targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

These measures may include, but are not limited to, shortened business hours for eateries and other establishments, restrictions on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars, and/or limits on the number of customers in enclosed spaces.

U.S. citizens in Japan are urged to follow all national and prefectural COVID-related guidance to protect their health.

Furthermore, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated should travel with proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status to provide to their airline before departure to the U.S.

Proof of vaccination should be a paper or digital record issued by an official source. It should include the COVID-19 vaccine product and date(s) of administration for all doses received.

And the U.S. CDC has determined that for purposes of travel to the U.S., COVID-19 vaccines accepted will include FDA approved/authorized and World Health Organization Listed vaccines.

See this link for FAQ information.

U.S. citizens needing assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy Tokyo; Telephone: 03-3224-5000; after-hours: 03-3224-5000; Email: [email protected]https://jp.usembassy.gov/services/.

Jan 25, 2022 • 1:33 pm CST

Authorities from Spain's Balearic and Canary Islands revealed on January 24, 2022, that stricter COVID-19 measures now apply across the islands. 

These Balearic Islands are an archipelago off eastern Spain, located in the Mediterranean Sea.

While the Canary Islands are located off Spain's western coast.

Since the two islands have been registering high COVID-19 infection rates, tourists and the citizens will no longer be permitted access to spas and saunas, among others, since these are enclosed areas.

In addition, restrictions will also apply to beaches and pools.

All travelers to these islands from an EU/Schengen Area country part of Spain's risk list must fill out a health control form before their trip. This requirement applies to all those over the age of 12.

In addition, travelers from the EU/Schengen Area must present a vaccination certificate, a negative test result, or a recovery certificate.

The Balearic Islands currently have a level three risk, whereas Canary Islands' Tenerife has a level four, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

The U.S. CDC says 'because the current situation in the Canary Islands is unknown, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants. Therefore, if you must travel to the Canary Islands, make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State's Embassy says 'Effective February 1, 2022, U.S. citizens can travel from the U.S. to Spain on non-essential travel (tourism) if they show proof that they are fully vaccinated and have received the last required dose of their COVID-19 vaccine no less than 14 days, and no more than nine months, before arrival in Spain.

If more than nine months have passed since receiving the last required dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. citizens must prove having received a booster shot at least 14 days before arrival in Spain. 

The U.S. Embassy Madrid is located at Calle Serrano, 75, 28006 Madrid, Spain. Telephone: (34) 91-587-2200.

 

Jan 25, 2022 • 1:06 pm CST

Delta Airlines announced on January 13, 2022, it is redoubling efforts to give customers more flexibility in their travel plans with another industry-leading eCredit extension through year-end 2023.

Effective Jan. 12, all existing eCredit holders will have an additional year of flexibility for rebooking and traveling.

Furthermore, all Delta customers with upcoming 2022 travel or who purchase a ticket in 2022 also have the flexibility to rebook their ticket through Dec. 31, 2023, and travel throughout 2024, if their plans change.

"We want to ensure our customers enjoy peace of mind when booking or rebooking their Delta trips this year," commented Allison Ausband, Chief Customer Experience Officer, in a media statement.

"This leading extension provides more time for customers to use their travel credits, so they can book with complete confidence that Delta has their back even when moments arise out of their control."

As impacts from the SARS-CoV-2 virus Omicron variant lessen, less than 1% of Delta's scheduled flights were recently canceled.

Many air travelers may wonder how Delta makes decisions about cancellations and schedule changes and what Delta does to help them when those disruptions occur. Click here to read Delta's FAQs.

Jan 25, 2022 • 6:24 am CST
IOC

The Winter Games 2022 does not require athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of January 25, 2022, but those who are unvaccinated may have to quarantine when arriving in Beijing, China.

Furthermore, on January 24, 2022, the COVID-19 countermeasures for the Olympic Games Beijing 2022 confirmed the closed-loop system was refined by the Organising Committee and the Chinese authorities. 

They have been developed to further adapt to the reality of the current environment and support the Games participants.

For both airport testing and screening testing, participants whose PCR results have a Cycle Threshold (CT) greater than or equal to 35 will be managed in the same way as close contacts for seven days and will not generate any close contacts.

And those people with a PCR result of less than 35 will be considered positive.

However, those participants with a PCR result with a CT of less than 35, and therefore positive, will be required to isolate in the designated isolation facilities.

If positive participants spend ten days or more in isolation, they can be released to their original Games-time accommodation if they do not display any COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, their PCR results must have a CT value greater than or equal to 35 for the previous three consecutive days.

Once rejoining the closed-loop, each person will be managed as a close contact.

Should the participant’s PCR results in the following days have a CT value of less than 35, they will not be returned to isolation and will continue to be managed as a close contact. The rule that allows all people testing negative for two consecutive days to be released as a close contact (for seven days) remains in place.

Moreover, the time period for which a person is deemed a close contact is reduced from 14 to seven days. 

During that period, testing will be carried out twice daily. In addition, close contacts will be able to choose whether their PCR test sample is collected as a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab.

For participants who repeatedly receive test results with a CT of less than 35, a separate policy that will enable them to return home at the earliest possible time is being developed jointly by Beijing 2022 and the IOC and will be communicated separately.

In addition to pre-departure tests in their own country and testing upon arrival in Beijing, all Games participants are subject to daily PCR testing run by medical personnel present in the accommodation facilities, including the Olympic Villages, and at the Olympic venues.

These new measures come into effect immediately and will apply retrospectively.

As the Olympic Games-time period started on January 23, the closed-loop system came into effect.

Some 2,586 tests have been conducted at Beijing airport over the pre-Games period, with 39 confirmed positive cases.

In the closed-loop, 336,421 tests have been carried out, and 33 confirmed positive cases had been detected.

All the people involved have been promptly isolated, and close contacts have been identified, following the measures described in the Beijing 2022 Playbooks.

Jan 23, 2022 • 10:50 am CST

Geo News Reported on January 21, 2022, the Pakistan Ministry of Health has decided to abolish fees for COVID-19 booster vaccinations for international travelers.

Previously, Rs1,250 was being charged to those who were traveling abroad.

Since early December 2021, the booster vaccine has been free for the general public.

And on January 14, 2022, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) announced all citizens above 18 years can get a COVID-19 booster after a six-month gap from when their vaccination was completed.

The NCOC lists various COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in Pakistan.

As of January 23, 2022, the NCOC confirmed 78,860,543 people are fully vaccinated in Pakistan.

The U.S. CDC previously issued a low-level Travel Advisory regarding Pakistan's COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the CDC has issued Travel Advisories focused on polio, dengue, and extensively drug-resistant typhoid fever.

Jan 23, 2022 • 9:54 am CST

Texas-based American Airlines (AA) announced very positive news on January 20, 2022. During 2021, American achieved its best performance in on-time arrivals, on-time departures, and completion factor since the COVID-19 pandemic while flying significantly more than any other airline.

For example, AA's on-time performance in December 2021 was better than any previous December.

"We're very proud of the way our team delivered throughout 2021," said American's President and incoming CEO Robert Isom in a press statement.

"Looking forward, our focus in 2022 will be to continue running a reliable airline."

AA recently introduced a redesign of the AAdvantage loyalty program, effective in 2022, that removes complicated elite qualifying metrics in favor of an easy-to-understand point system that provides members with multiple ways to earn status.

Starting in 2022, AAdvantage members can earn status by flying, using an AAdvantage credit card for purchases, or spending with an AAdvantage partner.

And, AA reopened some airport lounges with food and drink service changes to meet state and city rules.

Furthermore, if you're traveling in Flagship® First, passengers have access to a sit-down dining experience located inside select Flagship® Lounges.

Jan 23, 2022 • 5:40 am CST

Maui Now recently reported a COVID-19 booster vaccination would be required to be considered fully vaccinated in Maui County, Hawaii, effective January 24, 2022.

According to the revised Maui Countyʻ Public Health Emergency Rules, proof of a booster will soon be required to dine indoors, visit a bar, or exercise inside of a gym.

Under the revised Rules, the definition of 'fully vaccinated' mean having a booster shot after five or six months of the mRNA Pfizer or Moderna second shot, or two months after the Janssen single-shot vaccine. 

During a press briefing, County of Maui Mayor Victorino stated, "Those who are required to show vaccination cards ... are the ones that need to be [checking]."

"After speaking with leadership from Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi hospitals, it's evident that our healthcare facilities are at a tipping point."

Mayor Victorino continued to say, "If omicron continues to spread at the current rate, our hospitals will be forced to implement emergency procedures."

There were 42 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, January 21, 2022. Of those hospitalizations, 26 were vaccinated (eight boosted), and 16 were unvaccinated. And five are in the ICU (2 boosted/3 unvaccinated).

The Safe Travels Hawaii program remains in place for only domestic travel from the U.S. and its Territories.

The mandatory self-quarantine period for those arriving in the Hawaiian Islands who are not up to date on their vaccination or don't have a negative pre-travel test result has been reduced from 10 days to five days, effective January 3, 2022.

Furthermore, international passengers entering the U.S. from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the State of Hawaii.

Jan 22, 2022 • 3:39 pm CST

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new approvals on January 20, 2022, enabling an estimated 78% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports where wireless companies deployed 5G C-band. 

The FAA says it 'is working diligently to determine which altimeters are reliable and accurate where 5G is deployed in the U.S.'

Moreover, 'We anticipate some altimeters will be too susceptible to 5G interference.'
   
Airplane models with one of the 13 cleared altimeters include:

  • all Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, MD-10/-11;
  • all Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models and,
  • some Embraer 170 and 190 regional jets.

To preserve safety, 'some aircraft will be prohibited from performing low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed because the altimeter could provide inaccurate information.'

"The complex U.S. airspace leads the world in safety because of our high standards for aviation, and we will maintain this commitment as wireless companies deploy 5G," stated the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a media statement issued on January 18. 

As an example, Emirates Airlines, one of the initial international firms to postpone flights last week, has already returned to some U.S. airports.

On January 22, 2022, Houston, San Francisco, and Boston will resume operations.

The FAA says air travelers should check with their airlines for the latest flight schedules. 

Jan 22, 2022 • 9:41 am CST

Ireland's Department of Health issued updated travel requirements for international visitors on January 21, 2022. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, overseas holiday tourists visiting Ireland reached approximately 5.24 million in 2019.

Ireland's new policies include the recognition of natural immunity from people recently recovered from COVID-19.

Travelers to Ireland do not have to show an additional pre-departure COVID-19 test result if they have proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the prior six months.

And beginning February 1, 2022, vaccine certificates for the primary COVID-19 vaccination series will not be accepted for travel if more than 270 days have passed since the final dose in the primary vaccine series.

However, vaccine certificates based on booster doses are not time-limited.

Passengers without proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 in the prior six months must show evidence of a negative ('not detected') PCR test result taken within 72 hours before arriving in Ireland.

Only PCR test results are accepted in Ireland.

In situations where a person is unable to present evidence of a negative ('not detected') PCR test prior to travel due to continuing to test persistently positive after infection, a positive PCR result from a test taken 11 or more days before the date on which the person arrives in the State and no more than 180 days prior to the date on which the person arrives, will be accepted.

Furthermore, it is an offense to travel to Ireland from overseas without a pre-departure test result unless exempt. A passenger who travels without a test result or an exemption must take a PCR test within 36 hours following arrival.

Additionally, anyone that develops COVID-19 symptoms while in Ireland should follow the HSE guidance concerning isolation and undertaking antigen or RT-PCR testing as appropriate.

If you are traveling to Ireland from overseas, you must fill out a Passenger Locator Form before departure.

As of January 20, 2022, when flying to the U.S., travelers may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel, says the U.S. State Department. Check the U.S. CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions. 

Unfortunately, the State Department's Level 4 Travel Advisory for Ireland issued in August 2021 remains in effect.

Jan 21, 2022 • 3:10 pm CST

If Chamonix is beyond your budget, don't despair – there are plenty of small but charming resorts in the French Alps, wrote The Guardian on January 20, 2022.

While skiers scramble to secure packages to the famous resorts, dozens of lesser-known French ski villages offer excellent value.

The recent change in travel advice allowing United Kingdom (U.K.) citizens to travel to France has placed spring skiing back on the schedule.

As announced by the Prime Minister's office on January 14, 2022, the following rules apply to travel between the U.K. and France.

For vaccinated travelers, a compelling reason for travel will no longer be required to enter France, nor will it be necessary to self-isolate upon arrival.

However, travelers who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated.

For non-vaccinated travelers, travel to or from the U.K. will only be permitted if proof of a compelling reason for travel to "red list countries" is presented.

Unfortunately for Americans, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 - Do Not Travel - Advisory for France due to civil unrest on December 6, 2021.

And if you are visiting Paris this weekend, multiple demonstrations are expected to take place on January 22, 2022. The U.S. Embassy says to 'exercise caution if in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.'

Americans needing assistance can contact the U.S. Embassy Paris, which is located at 2 avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris: +33 (1) 43 12 22 22; [email protected].

Jan 21, 2022 • 11:52 am CST

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced on January 18, 2022, the agency's commitment to security, addressing emerging threats, and the ability to drive innovation was on display in 2021.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske stated in a media statement, "Despite the challenges, we facilitated freedom of movement for passengers and goods, and we made great progress in security innovation in close coordination with our federal partners and industry stakeholders."

During the year, TSA recorded the following highlights and accomplishments:

  • Passenger Volume – In 2021, travel volume increased to near pre-pandemic levels. As a result, TSA Officers screened 585.3 million travelers in 2021. On average, 97.6% of passengers waited less than 20 minutes at airport security checkpoints, while 96.2% of passengers in TSA PreCheck® lanes waited less than 5 minutes.
  • Stopped Firearms – TSA officers prevented a record number of firearms from being carried into airplane passenger cabins or the secure area of airports. As of December 31, TSA officers stopped 5,972 firearms at checkpoints. The majority of those firearms (86%) were loaded.
  • Technology – Throughout 2021, TSA deployed 1,520 Credential Authentication Technology units and added to its 320 Computed Tomography X-ray scanners at airport checkpoints, significantly reducing physical contact while improving security effectiveness. 
  • Mobile Driver's Licenses – TSA's efforts in 2021 laid the groundwork for mobile driver's license applications and readers that will enable future travelers to transfer license data using their iPhones at equipped checkpoints for ID verification.
  • Facial Recognition –TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched a new voluntary digital identity program in cooperation with Delta Air Lines. The technology, which is available to TSA PreCheck and Delta SkyMiles® members who opt-in, compares the passenger's live photo to a pre-staged gallery of images previously provided to the government, such as that found on a passport.

Unfortunately, as of January 20, 2022, TSA checkpoint screening volumes have been reduced to COVID-19 pandemic levels recorded in 2019.

This downturn in air passenger traffic may be related to the U.S. Department of State's numerous high-level Travel Advisories issued in 2022.