Travel Vaccine Breaking News

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

Apr 1, 2021 • 12:08 pm CDT

To limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak, the European Union (EU) 27 Member States adopted various measures during 2020, some of which have impacted citizens’ right to move freely across the EU, such as requirements to undergo quarantine or take a coronavirus test.

The right of European citizens to move and reside freely within the EU is one of the most cherished achievements of the EU.

Country-based maps are published by European CDC in support of the EU Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was adopted in October 2020, and amended on January 28, 2021.

These maps are based on EU Member States data to The European Surveillance System database every Tuesday.

Effective January 26, 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) required all air passengers two years of age and over entering the USA (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three (3) calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus within the last 90 days.

As of March 2, 2021, airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recent recovery for all passengers before boarding. ​Airlines must deny boarding of passengers who do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery.

See the CDC Proof of Negative Test Result page to view the order, complete the attestation, and see the CDC's FAQ’s.

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Mar 31, 2021 • 12:09 pm CDT

The Canadian Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT) Interim Canadian Recommendations for using a fractional dose of yellow fever vaccine during a vaccine shortage was updated on March 9, 2021.

The previous fractional dosage recommendation has been rescinded and is no longer valid as the shortage of the Yellow Fever vaccine has been lifted, says the CARMAT.

The CATMAT now 'recommends that anyone who received a fractional dose of Yellow Fever vaccine while the shortage was in effect should now get a regular dose of the vaccine if traveling to an area where yellow fever vaccination is recommended or required.'

This recommendation is important since yellow fever immunization is required to enter certain countries in Africa and South America regardless of the traveler's country of origin. Other countries require the vaccination of travelers if the traveler has passed through endemic areas.

As an example, the U.S. CDC publishes a map of Brazil's yellow fever endemic areas.

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms take 3–6 days to develop and include fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches. About 15% of people who get yellow fever develop serious illnesses that can lead to bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death, says the CDC.

Fractional Vaccine Dosage Background: In 2016, there were calls for the use of a fractional dose of yellow fever vaccine to address a global yellow fever vaccine shortage, a measure that would allow for immunization of a greater number of people during the vaccine shortage.

On June 17, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement that the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization found that using a fifth of a standard vaccine dose (0.1ml instead of 0.5ml) would protect against yellow fever for at least 12 months. However, the WHO stated that a fractional dose of the yellow fever vaccine would not qualify for a yellow fever certificate under the International Health Regulations.

Canada's Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel provides the Public Health Agency of Canada with ongoing and timely medical, scientific, and public health advice relating to tropical infectious disease and health risks associated with international travel.

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Mar 30, 2021 • 2:12 pm CDT

The US Department of State issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory on March 29, 2021, which says 'reconsider travel to Japan due to COVID-19, which is still a serious concern in Tokyo and across many areas of Japan, and restrictions on entry remain in effect.'

'The national state of emergency has now been lifted in all prefectures,' stated the local US Embassy on March 25, 2021.

'However, many prefectures continue to urge residents to take extra precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some prefectural authorities have begun to announce localized states of emergency. U.S. citizens should carefully monitor their local conditions and follow trusted media outlets. The new COVID-19 variant originally identified in the United Kingdom has been identified in Japan.'

'Finally, the U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to comply with all COVID-19 mitigation guidance from central and local government officials.'

The Government of Japan launched an English language website with information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Japan. For the most up-to-date information about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Japan, consult with your medical provider.'

'U.S. citizens should also follow local media for updates on the vaccination campaign’s progress.'

The U.S. CDC says, 'Stay aware of current health issues in Japan on additional steps visitors may need to take to protect themselves. And check the travel vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least one month before your trip to Japan.'

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Mar 30, 2021 • 12:56 pm CDT

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported a new post-coronavirus pandemic travel record on March 28, 2021, when 1,574,228 air travelers were screen at airports in the USA.

That volume is far greater than in 2020, when only 180,002 people were screened.

However, last Sunday's traffic is only 62% when compared to 2019's travel record.

To meet this expanding consumer demand, the TSA previously announced during February 2021 that it intends to hire about 6,000 additional staff members.

Specifically, the TSA is hiring Transportation Security Officers to work at Denver International Airport. There are 135 full- and 15 part-time positions currently available, with a starting salary of $18.10 per hour.

Additionally, TSA staff will soon assist the U.S. CDC's requirement that air passengers two years of age and over entering the USA (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

The TSA is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

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Mar 29, 2021 • 7:48 pm CDT

The Director of Polio Eradication for WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region, Dr. Hamid Jafari, declared the Federal Republic of Somalia’s outbreak of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 3 (cVDPV3) had been successfully stopped, with no international spread.

The outbreak closed a full 28 months after this strain of polio was last detected in Somalia.

However, the 2018 cVDPV3 outbreak in Somalia was part of a 2-strain polio outbreak, along with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2). Both strains emerge and paralyze children in under-immunized populations.

Across this WHO Region, the cVDPV2 outbreak is ongoing. Thus, paralytic polio is still a risk for un- or under-immunized children in Somalia.

Wild poliovirus still stalks children across Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the movement of people across borders underscores the risk of importation across and beyond the Region.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) map indicates various countries continue reporting new poliovirus cases. A listing of polio cases over the past 12-months is published at this GPEI link.

Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa, located in northeast Africa, with a population exceeding 15 million residents.

The U.S. CDC recommends that children in the USA get polio vaccinated to protect against poliomyelitis. Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine is most often given in the USA.  The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Vaccine Recommendations is published on this webpage.

The oral polio vaccine is offered in various countries.

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Mar 28, 2021 • 8:32 am CDT

Japan's government announced on March 28, 2021, it would issue digital health certificates to citizens who have been inoculated against coronavirus, joining China, the European Union, and other countries that have embraced vaccine passports aimed at opening up overseas travel, Nikkei has reported.

The COVID-19 vaccine certificate can be managed on a mobile app. It will be in line with international standards, allowing the person to present the proof of vaccination when boarding a plane or checking in to a hotel.

Furthermore, the government is considering adding the certificate to an app to be introduced in April 2021 that holds a digital certificate for a negative test result.

'The government is cautious about using vaccine passports for domestic travel,' stated Norihisa Tamura, Japan's health minister. 'The documents can lead to discrimination and prejudice, a view also held by some Japan legislators in the Diet.'

In determining the technical standards for its certification, the Japanese government is referring to the EU certificates and the universal digital certificate "CommonPass" advocated by the World Economic Forum.

'The government does not plan to use the vaccine passports for the "Go To Travel" campaign in Japan to stimulate tourism demand, even if the program is resumed.'

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Mar 26, 2021 • 6:11 pm CDT

Public health officials in Oregon announced they are monitoring four people who recently visited Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  These West African countries have been experiencing the 12th outbreak of Ebola virus disease.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and local public health departments have been in contact with these individuals, who are considered “persons under monitoring” since they arrived in the state earlier in March 2021.

This contact aims to determine their risk, if any, of being exposed to Ebola and ensure their safety and the safety of their families and the community. The OHA indicates there is a low risk for Ebola contamination to people in Oregon.

Beginning March 4th, the U.S. CDC has required all airlines to supply contact information for all U.S.-bound travelers who have visited Guinea or DRC in the last 21 days.

“We want to make sure these individuals have the support they need to monitor their health, stay in contact with public health officials and safely get help with medical services if it comes to that,” stated Richard Leman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Health Security, Preparedness and Response at the OHA Public Health Division, in a press statement.

As of March 26, 2021, both Guinea and the DRC have reported few Ebola cases over the past week. On March 12, 2021, the U.S. CDC re-issued a Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel, for Guinea and the DRC.

The U.S. FDA approved an EBOLA preventive vaccine named Ervebo in 2019. Merck's Ervebo is a recombinant, replication-competent Ebola vaccine, consisting of a VSV, genetically engineered to express a glycoprotein from the Zaire ebolavirus to provoke a neutralizing immune response to the Ebola virus.

On July 1, 2020, Janssen's Zabdeno and Mvabea Ebola vaccine therapy, a prime-boost vaccination approach for preventing infectious diseases, was granted authorization by the European Medicines Agency. 

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Mar 25, 2021 • 5:22 pm CDT

A second Dengue vaccine may soon become available in Europe and elsewhere. Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited has applied to the European Medicines Agency to Conduct the First-Ever Parallel Assessment of a Medicinal Product for Takeda’s Dengue Vaccine Candidate known as TAK-003.

Additionally, Takada stated in a press release issued on March 25, 2021, besides the EU, it intends to submit Regulatory Filings in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the USA during 2021.

If approved, TAK-003 would join Dengvaxia as the only Dengue authorized vaccine.

This news is important since Dengue is the fastest spreading mosquito-borne viral disease. Dengue is mainly spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and, to a lesser extent, Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. It is caused by any of four dengue virus serotypes, each of which can cause dengue fever or severe dengue.

The dengue virus can infect people of all ages and cause serious illness among children in some countries in Latin America and Asia, says the U.S. CDC.

On March 2, 2021, the CDC issued a Level 1 Travel Alert for the Americas, warning international travelers of their risks. Dengue is an ongoing risk in many parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean (map).

“Submission of regulatory filings for our dengue vaccine candidate, TAK-003, marks an important development for people who are living in or traveling to communities burdened by the threat of dengue,” commented Derek Wallace, VP, Dengue Global Program Leader at Takeda.

“Dengue outbreaks, which result in half a million hospitalizations globally each year, can overwhelm communities and governments because of the broad impact on the health care system. With limited options to prevent the disease, there is a pressing need for widely available dengue vaccines. Takeda is committed to working with regulatory authorities and recommending bodies to support evaluation of our submissions and achieve access for TAK-003.” 

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Mar 25, 2021 • 9:23 am CDT

Texas-based Southwest Airlines Co. recently announced it had donated 7,500 roundtrip tickets to help remove the financial burden for those who need to travel for life-changing or specialized medical care.

More than 75 nonprofit hospitals and medical transportation organizations across the United States received the tickets through Southwest's® Medical Transportation Grant Program, allowing them to bring patients and caregivers closer to much-needed medical care.

IN 2021, Southwest is supporting hospitals in 26 states, providing access for patients and their caregivers.

"As the airline with Heart, we have a passion for making a meaningful difference in the communities we serve," commented Laura Nieto, Director of Community Outreach, in a press statement. 

"Through our Medical Transportation Grant Program, we hope to ease the financial burden of air travel expenses and provide a critical lifeline for patients and caregivers, allowing them to stay focused on medical treatment and recovery."

As of March 16, 2021, Southwest began offering passengers a choice of soft drinks during the in-flight drink service. It's the first service enhancement that Southwest has made in nearly a year on its flights.

In its 50th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 56,000 Employees to a Customer base that topped 130 million Passengers in 2019.

Mar 24, 2021 • 8:46 pm CDT

Caitlin Shockey, a spokesperson for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told USA TODAY on March 24, 2021, 'that the Conditional Sailing Order remains in effect.'

"Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19," Shockey said. "Details for the next phase of the CSO are currently under interagency review."

On February 2, 2021, the CDC stated it 'recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.'

Furthermore, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid cruise travel worldwide.

If you travel on a cruise ship or river cruise and disembark in a foreign port, you might not be able to receive appropriate medical care or be medically evacuated if you get sick. Some countries might refuse to dock your ship or allow passengers to disembark. If they identify a case of COVID-19 aboard your cruise ship, foreign health officials may implement formal quarantine procedures, says the CDC.

All air passengers coming to the USA, including U.S. citizens, must have a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery before arriving in the USA.

See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

 

Mar 24, 2021 • 9:22 am CDT

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo issued a Health Alert on March 21, 2021, stating the Japanese government had ended the state of emergency covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba.

The Government of Japan’s national emergency declaration has now been lifted nationwide despite some restrictions, especially those involving the early closure of nightlife establishments (bars, restaurants, and other entertainment outlets) remaining in place.

However, the Government of Japan continues to urge residents to take all possible precautions against the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, mask-wearing, and avoiding crowded areas.

The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to comply with all local and national COVID-19 mitigation measures. The U.S. Embassy and consulates are open for routine services, but appointment availability remains limited. To schedule an appointment, visit this website for instructions.

However, the U.S. CDC issued a Travel Alert on March 15, 2021, saying 'travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and should avoid all travel to Japan.'

And, all air passengers coming to the USA, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Furthermore, the CDC says, 'visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get travel vaccines or medicines you may need.'

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Mar 23, 2021 • 12:56 pm CDT

 The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMTA) announced 'it is thrilled to welcome back longtime partner Royal Caribbean International, as the cruise line revealed that Nassau would be the homeport for Adventure of the Seas, beginning June 2021.

Adventure of the Seas will be visiting additional islands in The Bahamas, including Grand Bahama Island and Perfect Day at CocoCay, stated the BMTA on March 21, 2021.

“We believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice. As we move forward, we expect this requirement and other measures will inevitably evolve,” stated Michael Bayley, president, and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, in a press statement issued on March 19, 2021. 

“The opportunity to homeport in The Bahamas is a testament to the tremendous partners the government and the people of the island nation have been to us for more than 50 years. We are grateful for the confidence that they have in us and our commitment to a healthy and happy return to sailing.” 

Full details related to Royal Caribbean's health and safety measures are available online. Simultaneously, testing and entry requirements for The Bahamas, including Bahamas Health Visa application and more, can be found on Bahamas.com.

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Mar 22, 2021 • 9:52 am CDT

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 1,543,115 air travelers on Sunday, March 21, 2021. This data indicates the business day for the TSA in 2021. 

However, this travel volume is about 69% of air travel in 2020 when the TSA screened 2,227,181 people.

Local media sources say this year's Spring Break may be why this increased number of travelers. As an example, the city of Miami announced a curfew to control the vast number of out-of-state visitors. 

"I love that this is a beautiful place, that people come here to gather and enjoy our weather and our beaches," Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said at a press conference when the curfew measures were announced. "But right now, it has become too challenging in the tourism industry to continue that way."

Miami Beach Police Tweeted 'causeways will be closed until 6 AM except to City residents, guests of hotels in the City, and employees of business establishments in the City on March 21st.

While Miami is getting most of the attention during Spring Break, Florida's Gulf Coast beaches are generally ranked as 'the best in the USA.'

The State of Florida government recommends but does not require face coverings for the general public. Several cities, including Miami, have mask requirements, but local governments are barred from assessing fines and penalties for noncompliance.

A Florida statute issued in 2011 says 'No person or persons over 16 years of age shall while wearing any mask, hood, or device whereby any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter upon, or be or appear upon any lane, walk, alley, street, road, highway, or another public way in this state.'

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Mar 22, 2021 • 8:16 am CDT

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in Mumbai confirmed to Gulf News on March 21, 2021, that a new Standard Operating Procedure was issued by MCGM, which exempts certain air passengers from seven-days’ institutional quarantine.

As an example, passengers from the UAE to India’s financial capital Mumbai will be exempted from mandatory institutional quarantine if they have completed COVID-19 vaccination and fall under certain other categories of flyers.

A spokesperson of the CSMIA stated the exemption process is independently handled at the airport, and the self-declaration form can be availed at BMC exemption counters at the airport.

As of March 22, 2021, there are eleven different COVID-19 vaccines available globally.

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Mar 21, 2021 • 2:03 pm CDT

Israel's High Court recently ruled that the person quota for arrivals and limitations on leaving the country for those who have not yet been vaccinated for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is unconstitutional, reported Haaretz on March 17, 2021.

However, all passengers arriving in Israel with a travel itinerary 72 hours or longer must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result to airline staff. The test must be taken within 72 hours before the scheduled departure to Israel. This requirement applies to people with a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery. 

Entry to Israel depends on complying with this requirement, stated the Israeli government on March 21, 2021.

And, all outbound passengers who stay in Israel longer than 72 hours must present airline staff with negative COVID-19 PCR test results taken within 72 hours prior to the due time of departure. This requirement does not apply to people who have Israeli vaccination or recovery certificates.

Foreign nationals who display COVID-19 related symptoms must contact the Emergency Medical Services Hotline at 101 or the Ministry of Health Hotline at *5400 for advice.

Previously, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 4 Travel Alert on February 2, 2021, stating 'Travelers should avoid all travel to Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.'

Furthermore, 'If you get sick with COVID-19 or test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 while abroad, you might not be permitted to return to the USA until you can end isolation. If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 during travel, you might be quarantined and not be permitted to return to the USA until your quarantine is lifted,' says the CDC.