Travel Vaccine Breaking News

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

Apr 12, 2021 • 12:22 pm CDT

Saint-Herblain-based Valneva SE announced on April 12, 2021, that it had completed recruitment for the pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial of its single-shot chikungunya vaccine candidate, VLA1553.

A total of 4,131 adults aged 18 or above have been recruited across 44 sites in the USA for the VLA1553-301 trial, which was launched in September 2020. Participants will be followed for six months in the pivotal trial. If the trial results are positive, the trial is expected to support VLA1553’s licensure.

On April 1, 2021, Valneva also initiated an antibody persistence trial, VLA1553-303, that will follow the immunogenicity subset for a period of five years.

Currently, the U.S. FDA has not approved a Chikungunya vaccine. And, as of September 2020, there were more than 3 million reported cases in the Americas.

VLA1553 is a live-attenuated, single-dose vaccine candidate for protection against chikungunya disease. It has been designed by deleting a part of the chikungunya virus genome. To Valneva’s knowledge, VLA1553 is the only chikungunya vaccine candidate in Phase 3 clinical trials, and the Company believes that it is differentiated from other clinical-stage chikungunya vaccine candidates since VLA1553 is the only candidate that targets long-term protection with a single administration.

Juan Carlos Jaramillo, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Valneva, commented in a press release, “We are extremely pleased to have reached this important milestone despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting many people worldwide and creating challenges for recruitment into clinical trials. Chikungunya virus is a major, growing public health threat, and we are looking forward to our top-line data in mid-2021. We want to thank everyone involved, and we could not have achieved this important milestone without hard work and dedication”.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV), transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, says the U.S. CDC. An infection leads to symptomatic disease in 72-92% of humans after 4 to 7 days following the mosquito bite.

To make VLA1553 more accessible to Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC), Valneva and Instituto Butantan in Brazil signed an agreement for the development, manufacturing, and marketing of VLA1553.

Valneva SE is a specialty vaccine company focused on developing and commercializing prophylactic vaccines for infectious diseases with significant unmet medical need.

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Apr 11, 2021 • 9:31 am CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued its Level 4 Travel Alert for cruise ships, including those operating in The Bahamas. 

The CDC stated on April 2, 2021, 'all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high. It is imperative that people with an increased risk of severe COVID-19 avoid travel on cruise ships.'

'Cruise passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home for seven days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full seven days.'

Additionally, the CDC's Level 3 Travel Alert says 'travelers should avoid all nonessential travel to the Bahamas. Because of the current situation in the Bahamas, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.'

If you do intend to visit The Bahamas, the CDC says, 'check with your healthcare provider at least one month before your trip to get travel vaccines or medicines you may need.'

Apr 10, 2021 • 7:51 am CDT

The Caribbean island of St. Vincent has experienced an "explosive volcanic eruption," according to an announcement by the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC) on April 9, 2021. The Alert Level remained at Orange, the second-highest level on a four-color scale by the UWI-SRC.

The island's largest volcano is La Soufrière, which began erupting in December 2020.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines have a population of about 10,000, mainly located in the capital city of Kingston. An estimated 16,000 residents live in the danger zone and will have to be removed.

'All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families,' Tweeted St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

On April 8, 2021, Miami-based Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises announced they were 'Serenade of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Reflection to St. Vincent in the Caribbean to evacuate residents.' According to the statement, precautions would be taken 'to protect the health and safety of the crew and passengers who board our ships.'

Prime Minister Gonsalves is reported to announce those who wish to board a rescue ship will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reported NPR.

On April 7th, the WHO confirmed 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea, arrived today at the Argyle International Airport.

As of April 2, 2021, the U.S. CDC confirmed in a Level 4 Travel Alert that travelers should avoid all travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

'Because of the current pandemic situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.' says the CDC.

Apr 9, 2021 • 8:25 am CDT

'With the end of the Canadian academic year approaching for students attending universities and community colleges, the following rules go into effect for students and anyone helping them to move their belongings in and out of the New Brunswick province as of Friday, April 9, 2021,' stated a recent provincial government press statement.

Under the province’s government mandatory order:

  • As part of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 recovery effort, travelers entering New Brunswick by land, air, or sea must register to collect information to support Public Health. Anyone traveling to pick up a student in New Brunswick must register their travel online.
  • People may enter New Brunswick for a period of no more than 24 hours to transport a student and/or remove belongings from a student’s residence. They are expected to observe all public health rules and minimize contact with others, except the student they are picking up.
  • Staying longer than 24 hours is considered remaining in the province, and the 14-day self-isolation period would then apply.

New Brunswickers may enter Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador, as long as those provinces permit them to do so, for no more than 24 hours to remove belongings from a student’s residence. They are expected to observe all public health rules and minimize contact with others while away but will not be required to self-isolate upon their return.

Anyone leaving New Brunswick to remove belongings from a student’s residence located outside the Atlantic provinces is ordered, upon their return, to self-isolate for 14 days and follow the directions of public health officials. Students entering from outside the Atlantic provinces are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

Students returning to New Brunswick from other Atlantic provinces will not need to self-isolate upon their return.

Furthermore, the Department of Health has expanded the use of the MyHealthNB website to enable eligible New Brunswickers to obtain access to their COVID-19 test results.

There have been over 28 million COVID-19 tests performed in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of these, 3.8% were positive. For information, visit this Canadian government webpage. Ontario and Quebec have reported the most COVID-19 cases (67.1%) and deaths (78.5%).

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Apr 8, 2021 • 11:48 am CDT

Carnival Cruise Line announced it had notified guests of additional cruise cancellations and the extension of its pause in all operations from U.S. ports through June 30, 2021.

To provide flexibility for guests booked on July 2021 itineraries that remain in the schedule, Carnival is extending final payment deadlines for all July sailings to May 31, 2021, with the ability to cancel without penalty.

“We are asking that the cruise industry be treated on par with the approach being taken with other travel and tourism sectors, as well as U.S. society at large,” commented Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a press statement.

“While we have not made plans to move Carnival Cruise Line ships outside of our U.S. homeports, we may have no choice but to do so to resume our operations which have been on ‘pause’ for over a year."

The U.S. CDC stated on March 8, 2021, 'Although cruising has many obvious pleasures, potential health hazards are also a risk with cruise ship travel. Staying informed and preparing for these potential hazards can help you stay healthy and get the most out of your cruise vacation.'

And, 'regardless of your itinerary, you should be up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles/mumps/rubella, varicella, and seasonal flu.'

The CDC cautions that any travel poses a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, including travel by air, bus or train, automobiles, and cruises. The CDC currently advises that travel to more than 150 countries presents a very high risk in addition to cruises.

On April 8th, Carnival highlighted Costa Cruises' reintroduction of itineraries from April 2022 to April 2023.

The Italian company has many new developments on the program and itineraries that have been highly successful in recent years. In all the Mediterranean ports, the "longest ever" excursion will be offered, visiting places that are difficult to reach on your own.

Carnival Corporation employs over 150,000 people from nearly 150 countries, and its brands host nearly 13 million guests annually, accounting for nearly half of the overall global cruise market.

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Apr 7, 2021 • 6:35 pm CDT

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Tourism has announced that Costa Rica’s land borders reopened to U.S. citizen tourists as of April 5, 2021.

However, U.S. citizen tourists wishing to enter Costa Rica via a designated land border crossing must purchase a medical insurance policy to cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment or quarantine lodging in Costa Rica for the duration of their stay, announced the US Department of State.

The policy must guarantee coverage for medical expenses in cases of COVID-19 related medical treatment in the amount of 50,000 USD and minimum coverage of 2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses due to COVID-19 related illness. 

It is possible to purchase an international policy or purchase a Costa Rican insurance policy through the National Insurance Institute or Sagicor of Costa Rica.  Visit this link for an unofficial English language translation of this announcement. 

The Ministry of Tourism has also announced that as of April 5th, U.S. citizens with temporary/permanent Costa Rican residency entering Costa Rica via a designated land border crossing will no longer be issued a 14-day sanitary order. 

Costa Rica’s Directorate for Migration has also announced that persons intending to cross from Costa Rica into Nicaragua via a designated land border crossing must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours of their intended border crossing.  For more information on this requirement, visit this link.  

Additionally, the Directorate of Migration announced that visas for tourists who entered Costa Rica between December 17, 2019, and November 30, 2020, have been extended until June 2, 2021. 

The Costa Rica National Emergency Commission has announced that the nationwide COVID-19 restrictions, which began on March 1, 2021, will continue during the month of April.  For an unofficial English language translation of these restrictions, follow this link.

Apr 7, 2021 • 2:28 pm CDT

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the third stay-at-home order that will become effective on April 8, 2021, reported the Toronto Sun. This new Order is scheduled to last for four weeks.

Ontario is a province in east-central Canada home to about 14 million residents that borders the USA and the Great Lakes.

Ford also stated the Canadian province's state of emergency would invoke the new measures for retails, including a requirement that big box stores rope off non-essential items to focus only on the sales of groceries, pharmacies, pet supplies, and gardening items. All other non-essential retail stores will go back to curbside pick-up with controlled hours.

These measures are to fight a surge in COVID-19 cases connected to news virus variants. As of April 6th, a total of 16,127 variant of concern cases have been reported across Canada, including 14,790 involving B.1.1.7 variants.

There were 1,095 new cases confirmed in Toronto on April 7, 2021: 596 in Peel, 342 in York, 187 in Durham, and 104 in Hamilton. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been 1,020,893 cases of COVID-19 and 23,141 deaths reported by Canada Health.

'Aiming to have the fewest interactions with the fewest number of people, for the shortest time, at the greatest distance possible, while wearing the best-fitting mask is a simple rule that we can all apply to help limit the spread of COVID-19, as vaccine programs expand to protect all Canadians.' says Public Health Agency of Canada.

Apr 6, 2021 • 7:58 pm CDT

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order on April 6, 2021, prohibiting state agencies or political subdivisions in Texas from creating a "vaccine passport" requirement or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

The new Order also prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place. 

"Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But, as I've said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced," said Governor Abbott in a related press statement.

"Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information to go about their daily lives. That is why I have issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas."

"We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans' personal freedoms."

As of March 29, 2021, anyone age 16 and older became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas.

The new Texas Vaccine Scheduler helps Texans get scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine at clinics hosted by participating Texas public health entities. Register online at GetTheVaccine.dshs.texas.gov

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Apr 5, 2021 • 6:00 pm CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 4 Travel Alert on April 5, 2021, for the British Island territory Bermuda.

The CDC's High-Level Alert states, 'Travelers should avoid all travel to Bermuda because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.'

'Because of the current situation in Bermuda, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Bermuda. If you must travel to Bermuda, get fully vaccinated before travel.'

Furthermore, returning to the USA have new requirements.

All air passengers coming to the USA, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result in no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the USA, says the CDC.

And do not travel if you were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, you test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. Moreover, don’t travel with someone who is sick, says the CDC.

There are three experimental COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the USA, and globally, there are nine other vaccines currently available.

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Apr 5, 2021 • 2:17 pm CDT

Hawaii Governor David Ige approved Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami’s request to rejoin the Safe Travels pre-travel testing program effective April 5, 2021. Visitors and residents traveling to Kauai have several options under the current COVID-19 emergency rules, which are posted at this link.

Currently, there are Hawaii Travel Restrictions in effect for all the major Hawaiian Islands, including the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Hawaii, Molokai, and Lanai.

There is a 10-day quarantine restriction for all in-bound visitors to the Hawaiian Islands. However, there is a pre-travel testing option that will allow travelers an alternative, allowing them to bypass Hawaii's quarantine restrictions, as long as they bring along proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a state-approved trusted lab testing partner.

Here are Quick Facts about bypassing quarantine in your travel to Hawai‘i and its counties.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised guidelines published on April 2, 2021, do not impact or change Hawaii's travel rules and restrictions, stated Hawaii Guide.

And, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not a recognized exemption to the Hawaii travel quarantine.

However, the CDC says 'fully vaccinated people can travel within the USA and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently.'

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky commented on April 2, 2021, “We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to take steps back to our everyday lives safely. Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.”

Apr 3, 2021 • 12:36 pm CDT

Since the start of 2021, France's Department of Reunion Island located east of Africa in the Indian Ocean has reported 1,292 dengue cases, confirmed by the European CDC on March 24, 2021.

The majority of dengue cases have been reported from the city of Le Port, with about 34,000 residents located at the northwest corner of Réunion.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is common in warm, tropical climates. The competent vectors of dengue, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are found on La Réunion island.

Dengue disease is caused by any one of four closely related viruses (serotypes) that often lead to a wide spectrum of symptoms, including extremely mild cases requiring medical intervention, says the U.S. CDC.

Although rare, ophthalmologic manifestations (loss of vision) have been reported in some patients one week after the onset of the first symptoms of dengue in Reunion.

Reunion launched a public information campaign to reduce dengue outbreaks, encouraging residents to implement preventive measures, such as protecting themselves and their loved ones from mosquito bites, eliminating anything that may contain water around their home, and quickly consult a doctor in the event of symptoms.

The World Health Organization recommends the Dengvaxia vaccine be given to persons with confirmed prior dengue virus infection. However, there may be at risk of developing severe dengue if they get dengue after being vaccinated.

Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) is a live attenuated tetravalent chimeric vaccine made using recombinant DNA technology by replacing the PrM (pre-membrane) and E (envelope) structural genes of yellow fever attenuated 17D strain vaccine and is indicated for the prevention of dengue disease caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Other dengue vaccines are conducting clinical trials.

To notify international travelers, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 1 Travel Alert on March 1, 2021, regarding dengue outbreaks in many parts of Africa and the Middle East (map).

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Apr 2, 2021 • 3:15 pm CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19 in Canada Alert, suggesting should avoid all travel to Canada.

Because of the current pandemic situation in Canada, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants, stated this CDC Travel Alert published on April 2, 2021.

'If you must travel to Canada, get fully vaccinated before travel,' says the CDC.

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel to Canada, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.

Furthermore, every air passenger coming to the USA, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, must have a negative COVID-19 test result, no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the USA.  

And after returning to the USA, travelers should get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after arrival.

If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any health information, test results, or other documents. Check with your destination's Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers.

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Apr 2, 2021 • 11:02 am CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated COVID-19 vaccination information for travelers within the USA on April 2, 2021.

The CDC states 'people are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as J&J’s Janssen vaccine.

The CDC states 'people who are fully vaccinated with a U.S. FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine can travel safely within the United States:

  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it.
  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine

However, fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely, including, but not limited to, wearing a face mask over your nose and mouth.

Furthermore, if you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • While you are traveling, wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the USA and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • And the CDC's face mask order applies to all persons traveling on commercial maritime conveyances into, within, or out of the USA and to all persons at U.S. seaports.

After you travel, get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.

Moreover, if your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected, says the CDC.

Also, state, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival. For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or territorial and local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going. 

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Apr 1, 2021 • 9:07 pm CDT

Windstar Cruises confirmed on April 1, 2021, they will require proof of current COVID-19 vaccination for all guests sailing aboard Windstar’s yachts for the rest of 2021.

At the cruise terminal before embarkation, Windstar guests must provide proof of a completed vaccination course (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine brand) finished at least 14 days prior to the guest’s embarkation date.

Windstar also requires and will administer a free COVID-19 antigen test to passengers at the pier before boarding. A negative test result is required to board the cruise yacht.

Furthermore, Windstar's Beyond Ordinary Care program is a multi-layered strategy with key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect the air, plus electrostatic sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout the yacht.

'We are making a multi-million dollar investment in our fleet to provide a healthy environment while sailing on a Windstar yacht, stated the company.

Seattle, WA based Windstar Cruises operates a six-ship fleet of small sailing and all-suite ships visiting approximately 330 ports in 2020, sailing throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal, Asia, Alaska, Canada, and New England, Central America, Mexico, US West Coast and cruising year-round in Tahiti.

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Apr 1, 2021 • 5:01 pm CDT

The World Health Organization (WHO) published its Influenza Update #390 on March 29, 2021, which stated 'despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, global influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.'

Worldwide, 'influenza B detections accounted for most of the very low numbers of detections reported.'

The WHO says the 'current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced to varying extents health-seeking behaviors, as well as testing priorities and capacities in Member States.'

In the Northern Hemisphere's temperate zone, which includes Canada, Mexico, and the USA, influenza activity remained below the baseline. However, sporadic detections of influenza A and B viruses continued to be reported in some countries.

Furthermore, in the Caribbean and Central American countries, no influenza detections were reported last week.

In the Southern Hemisphere's temperate zone, such as Brazil, influenza activity was reported at an inter-seasonal level since this flu season is just starting.

For the remainder of the 2020-2021 flu season, the U.S. CDC recommends using any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine as an option for vaccination this season. These include injectable flu vaccines, live attenuated influenza vaccines, or nasal spray.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every season, with rare exceptions. Vaccination is essential for people at high risk of serious complications from influenza, says the CDC.

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