Travel Vaccine Breaking News

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

Sep 26, 2021 • 9:25 am CDT

The U.S. Department of State announced on September 22, 2021, an update on U.S. Passport Operations. Passport applicants can now expect the following level of service.

Effective September 23rd, Routine service can take up to 16 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received.

And the Expedite service (an additional $60) can take up to 12 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received. 

Please note, these door-to-door timeframes include both our processing times and mailing times on the front and back ends. Send your application to us via USPS Priority Mail Express and pay an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery of your completed passport.

Furthermore, get passport-related questions answered immediately by using one of the available self-service tools.

These services provide the fastest turnaround and protect your important documents, says the State Department.

Sep 26, 2021 • 9:13 am CDT

The Indian Embassy in Rome announced via Twitter on September 23, 2021, that after a meeting held between health leaders, the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine is valid proof of immunity.

This news means that those vaccinated with the India-made Covishield vaccine can now be used to enter Italy.

Additionally, everyone immunized with Covishield is now eligible to obtain the Italian Green Pass, which extends the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate.

Furthermore, Italy is launching some of the strictest anti-COVID measures, reported NPR's Sylvia Poggioli. Starting in October 2021, government and private workers will be required to prove COVID-19 vaccination against or lose income.

To alert international travelers, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice citing a high level of COVID-19 in Italy.  And the Department of State's Level 3 Travel Advisory recommends that travelers reconsider travel to Italy due to COVID-19. 

Sep 25, 2021 • 10:19 am CDT

England's Department for Transport and Department of Health and Social Care announced on September 23, 2021, forthcoming changes to its international travel rules. 

Beginning October 4, 2021, the rules for international travel to England will change from the red, amber, green traffic light system to a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world.

The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on your vaccination status.

If you arrive in England before October 4th, you must follow the current rules.

This means you must book and take any COVID-19 tests you need and follow the quarantine rules in place when you arrive in England.

Furthermore, if you have been in a country or territory on the Red List in the ten days before you arrive in England, you must follow these rules even if you have been fully vaccinated. Additionally, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British or Irish National or you have residence rights in the UK.

There is separate guidance on what you need to do if you are traveling abroad from England.

Travelers can sign up for a UK email alert to get updates on international travel rules.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the UK are given in 2 doses. You usually have the 2nd dose 8 to 12 weeks after the 1st dose.

Sep 22, 2021 • 3:15 pm CDT

The journal Clinical Infectious Diseases published the finding of a new study on September 21, 2021, that found the overall SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus attack rate during airplane flights under 4 hours was less than 1%.

The results from over 5,700 passengers on 177 flights departing from Wuhan, China, in early 2020, found the attack rates among travelers varied by seat distance from the index case and joint travel time.

Still, the variation was not significant between the types of aircraft.

Furthermore, this study indicates sitting in the same row as a SARS-CoV-2 infectious passenger had the highest risk of infection.

And, the coronavirus transmission risk on international flights may increase due to longer travel distance and time for the international journey.

Sep 22, 2021 • 10:25 am CDT

The Israeli Ministry of Health published an updated Recommendation for Destination Classification Scheme on September 20, 2021. The classification scheme takes effect on September 27, subject to its approval.

For Red Destinations, travel is forbidden for COVID-19 vaccinated and recovered individuals (save for those cleared for travel by the Exceptions Committee).

All travelers returning from these Red Destinations shall be required to complete the entire isolation period: Bulgaria, Brazil, and Turkey.

Furthermore, Mexico will be removed from the list of Red Destinations and moved to the list of Orange destinations. 

Organ and yellow Destination countries are listed at this link.

In addition, Israel's Ministry publishes updated travel information at this link. And accepted COVID-19 vaccines are discussed at this link.

Sep 21, 2021 • 9:04 pm CDT

The ongoing measles outbreak in the Central African Republic (DRC) was declared in January 2020, and by the end of the year, 28,633 suspected cases with 137 associated deaths were reported. And the outbreak continued in 2021.

As of August 21, 2021, the DRC has reported about 2,049 measles cases.

Over the years, routine and supplemental measles immunization vaccination coverage has been suboptimal in the DRC.

Twenty-five percent of the measles cases confirmed in 2021 are unvaccinated. And the administrative vaccination coverage at the national level remains less than 70% as of June 2021.

As a result, a national vaccination campaign targeting children up to 10 years was conducted in two phases in 2020.

'The country (DRC) needs to continue with vaccine campaigns for vaccine-preventable diseases and reinforce the mechanisms for ensuring that these campaigns reach targeted populations to prevent further outbreaks of diseases such as measles,' says the WHO.

The U.S. CDC suggests infants traveling internationally should get one dose of a measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before departure to the DRC. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Separately, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a meningitis outbreak in the Tshopo Province on September 8, 2021. The CDC recommends that travelers two months or older traveling to the north-eastern DRC get vaccinated against meningitis.

Anyone can get meningococcal disease, but people who live or travel to some regions of the world are more likely to get it.

The "meningitis belt" of sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of meningococcal disease in the world. The disease is more common in this part of Africa during the dry season (December through June).

People with meningococcal disease spread the bacteria to others through close personal contact, such as living together or kissing. Bacteria that cause meningococcal disease can also infect the blood, causing septicemia. 

Getting a meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect against meningococcal disease. There are two types of meningococcal vaccines available in the USA: Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) vaccine; Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine.

Sep 20, 2021 • 5:45 pm CDT

Do not travel to Belize due to COVID-19 and if you do, exercise increased caution due to violent crime, announced the US Department of State on September 13, 2021.

Violent crimes, such as sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder, are common even during daylight and tourist areas.

The Level 4 Travel Advisory says 'U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to Belize City. Historically much of the violent crime in Belize occurs in the Southside of Belize City and is gang-related. This area (south of Haulover Creek Canal and continuing south to Fabers Road) does not overlap the typical tourism areas.'

'All visitors should maintain an elevated level of due diligence and reduce their exposure to crime-related risks by practicing good safety and security practices.'

Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Belize due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of disease in the country.

Belize is a nation of about 390,353 and is located in Central America. And it is bordered by Mexico, Guatemala, and the east by the Caribbean Sea, says TravelBelize.org.

According to the UNWTO, Belize recorded approximately 1.67 million international tourist arrivals in 2019, down from 1.7 million a year earlier. The largest share of these arrivals corresponded to same-day cruise passenger arrivals.

Sep 20, 2021 • 8:58 am CDT

“It is not a good time to travel to Hawai‘i,' stated Governor David Ige on August 23, 2021. But a clarification of a recent study may change his opinion.

The Lancet reported on September 15, 2021, the Article by Mathew Kiang and colleagues is one of few studies available to inform policymakers in Hawaii, USA, on the efficacy of different testing and quarantine strategies for preventing new introductions of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants into the island's populations.

The primary endpoint of the study—the cumulative number of infectious days—is proposed to measure the risk to the destination of importing virus infections from international travel.

However, the tallies include infectious days before travel, which do not expose the destination population.

To assess exposure to the destination population only, the tally should start on the day of travel.

By this measure, the 3-day pre-travel virus test reduces the days of exposure to the destination population by 20% relative to no testing. This recalculation is less than the reported 36% reduction that includes pre-travel exposure days.

Another confusion that comes from the March 2021 study is infectious days during the 5-day post-arrival quarantine simulations.

It shows that quarantine has no effect on the cumulative days of the exposure until day 5 and beyond.

For some reason, Kiang and colleagues included the travelers' infectious days during 5 days of quarantine in the cumulative count, even though these days are not exposing the destination population.

If the infectious days during the 5-day quarantine period were excluded, the reduction in exposure to the destination population under strategy #2 would be far greater than the 70% reported in the study.

Gov. Ige says 'We continue to welcome other travelers to the Hawaiian Islands with a pre-travel test.'

Sep 19, 2021 • 6:20 pm CDT

A new report published by AHLA and Kalibri Labs in August 2021 projects that the hotel industry will finish 2021 down by more than $59 billion in business travel revenue from 2019.

This report indicates New York City, NY may see these revenues decrease by 88% compared to 2019.

In 2020, the hotel industry lost nearly $49 billion in business travel revenue.

Business travel includes corporate, group, government, and other commercial categories. Business and group travel are the industry’s largest source of revenue and are not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

As of August 17, 2021, people 12 and older in NYC are required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the U.S. FDA or WHO for Indoor dining, Indoor fitness, and Indoor entertainment.

This new COVID-19 vaccine requirement is called the Key to NYC and applies to all staff at these locations.

Sep 19, 2021 • 3:56 pm CDT

A peer-reviewed study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings on September 1, 2021, showed a single COVID-19 molecular test performed within 72 hours of departure could decrease the rate of people actively infected onboard a commercial aircraft to a level that is significantly below active community infection rates.

For example, when the average community virus infection rate was 1.1%, COVID-19-tested flight rates were 0.05%.

"This real-world data – not simulation models – is what governments around the world can use as a blueprint for requiring vaccinations and testing instead of quarantines to re-open borders for international travel,” explained Dr. Henry Ting, Delta’s Chief Health Officer, in a press statement.

“Air travel risk varies depending on COVID-19 case rates and vaccination rates at the (flights) origin."

"But the data collected from this study show that the routine use of a single molecular test within 72 hours before international travel for unvaccinated individuals significantly mitigates the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission during airline travel.”

“When you couple the extremely low infection rate on board a COVID-19-tested flight with the layers of protection on board including mandatory masking and hospital-grade air filtration, the risk of transmission is less than one in one million between the United States and the United Kingdom, for example,” Dr. Ting added.

The US Transportation Security Administration confirmed on September 17, 2021, it continues to adjust its security operations during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

TSA launched the “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign, which details proactive and protective measures at security checkpoints to make the screening process safer for passengers and our workforce by reducing the potential of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Recent TSA security processing data for mid-September 2021 indicates air travel in the USA remains far less than recorded during 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Georgia Department of Health and Mayo Clinic conducted the study in conjunction with Delta. The researchers disclosed various industry relationships.

Sep 17, 2021 • 8:07 am CDT

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published updated maps supporting the Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel measures in the European Union EU.

The maps are based on data reported by the EU Member States every Tuesday.

The color-coded combined indicator indicates a 14-day notification rate, testing rate, and test positivity, updated as of September 16, 2021.

To limit the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the EU’s 27 Member States have adopted travel measures that have impacted citizens’ right to move freely across the EU, such as requirements to undergo quarantine or take a coronavirus test, says the ECDC.

While the measures are intended to safeguard the health and well-being of citizens, they have had severe consequences for the economy and citizens’ rights.

A well-coordinated, predictable and transparent approach to the adoption of restrictions on freedom of movement is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, safeguard the health of citizens, and maintain free movement within the Union under safe conditions.

The Council Recommendations are available at this link. The ECDC is an agency of the EU.

Sep 9, 2021 • 7:10 pm CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19 alert for the Caribbean island country of Jamaica on September 7, 2021.

The CDC says, 'Avoid travel to Jamaica.'

'If you must travel to Jamaica, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel. However, because of the current situation in Jamaica, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.'

Furthermore, check the travel vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get the supplies you may need.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamaica has averaged about 4.3 million tourists a year.

Separately, the US Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory which says, 'Do not travel to Jamaica due to COVID-19, and exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to crime. 

Violent crimes are common, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides. Sexual assaults frequently occur, including at all-inclusive resorts.

Some specific areas have increased risk of crime, such as:

  • Listed areas of Kingston,
  • Listed areas of Montego Bay,
  • Spanish Town.

Read the entire State Department Travel Advisory at this link.

Additionally, the US Embassy in Kingston says In light of the Jamaican government’s announcement of no-movement days in September, the U.S. Embassy will be closed for regular consular services on those days.

Sep 6, 2021 • 1:37 pm CDT

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported on August 27, 2021, there have been over 1 million dengue virus disease cases confirmed in 2021.

Dengue viruses are spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These are the same types of mosquitoes that spread Zika and chikungunya viruses.

Dengue is common in more than 100 countries around the world, says the ECDC.

The majority of dengue cases during 2021 have been reported in Brazil (752,284), Vietnam (43,028), and the Philippines (32 555).

In Europe, one locally acquired dengue case had been reported in France as of July 29th.

In the USA, Puerto Rico has confirmed 346 dengue cases as of August 12, 2021.

The U.S. CDC's vaccine committee met on June 24, 2021, to review the Acceptability and Implementation of adding dengue vaccines to standard vaccine schedules for children aged 9-16 years of age with laboratory confirmation of previous dengue infection and living in endemic areas (i.e., Puerto Rico, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands).

The's CDC recommendation is found at this link.

There is one U.S. FDA Approved dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, with several vaccine candidates conducting late-stage studies.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is an agency of the European Union.

Sep 5, 2021 • 5:55 am CDT
CDC

According to the latest data published by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on September 5, 2021, U.S. air travelers have returned to 2019 levels. 

The TSA's latest report shows about 2.1 million American air passengers were screened on September 3rd, matching the pre-COVID-19 pandemic volume recorded in 2019.

This Labor Day holiday increase may be the opposite action U.S. CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D. recommended to about 47% of Americans in early September 2021.

"First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said during a recent White House briefing.

Dr. Walensky also carefully vaccinated people to be cautious, advising them that they consider their risk of developing COVID-19 when making Labor Day weekend plans.

"People who are fully vaccinated, and who are wearing masks, can travel," Walensky said.

"Although given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling," reported NPR. On September 4, 2021, the CDC reported that only 53% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of August 30th, the CDC's COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination was updated regarding international travel.

Sep 4, 2021 • 12:41 pm CDT

The European Council (EC) updated the list of countries, special administrative regions, and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted as of August 30, 2021. In particular, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, and the United States of America were removed from the approved list.

Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restriction.

The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed.

An EC member state should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner.

Note: If you are overseas and your US passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021, says the US Department of State's website.