Travel Vaccine Breaking News

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

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.

Sep 3, 2021 • 2:57 pm CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reissued Level 2 Travel Advisories regarding polio outbreaks in Africa and Asia on August 30, 2021.

Destinations in Africa currently considered high risk for polio are highlighted on this CDC map. And for Asia, this map identifies the at-risk countries.

The U.S. CDC says 'everyone should be fully vaccinated against poliovirus before any international travel.'

And 'anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series.'

Polio can be prevented with a vaccine, says the CDC.

Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is most often given in the USA. And, certain combination vaccines also protect against disease from Polio and include the three types of poliovirus: Type 1 (Mahoney), Type 2 (MEF-1), and Type 3 (Saukett).

As of September 2, 2021, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reported new polio cases in these countries last week:

  • Ethiopia: two cVDPV2 cases
  • Mali: one cVDPV2 case
  • Nigeria: twenty-three cVDPV2 cases
  • Sierra Leone: one cVDPV2 case
  • Tajikistan: one cVDPV2 case

On August 20, 2021, the World Health Organization announced the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.

Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system, says the CDC. However, good hand washing practices can help prevent the spread of this disease.

However, because the virus that causes polio lives in the feces of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating. People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.

Sep 3, 2021 • 2:14 pm CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination on August 30, 2021.

This CDC map highlights the status, Level 1 through Level 4, for each country.

'To maximize protection from the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,' says the CDC.

And when returning to the USA, the CDC says 'all air passengers, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (natural immunity) before they board a flight to the United States.

See the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Aug 26, 2021 • 6:48 pm CDT

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported on August 25, 2021, the U.S. air travel industry experienced a significant decrease in air passenger screening.

According to the TSA's latest report, the USA's daily air passenger screening volume decreased 21% from over 1.9 million per day to about 1.5 million passengers screened.

This decrease could be related to recent actions taken by the U.S. CDC and the U.S. Department of State.

As of August 23, 2021, these US government agencies issued various high-level Travel Advisories, strongly encouraging people to discontinue traveling.

Furthermore, the CDC now says, 'do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC’s international travel recommendations.'

Aug 23, 2021 • 6:08 pm CDT

The US Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for the Bahamas on August 23, 2021. This State Department Advisory says 'do not travel to The Bahamas due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. CDC says there is a very high level of COVID-19 throughout The Bahamas.

Furthermore, the State Department says to exercise caution in some areas of The Bahamas due to crime.

The vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands.

In Nassau, exercise caution in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street). Violent crimes, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, occur, but generally not in tourist areas.

And activities involving commercial, recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas. Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists.

As a result, U.S. government personnel cannot use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

If you decide to travel to The Bahamas, the State Department says:

  • Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for The Bahamas.

The United States government recently demonstrated its commitment to shared security and safety of The Bahamas and the United States on June 22, 2021, by donating three high-speed SAFE boats, radio communications equipment, and biometrics equipment to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force for a total value of about $5.9 million.

U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. According to the State Department, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

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Aug 22, 2021 • 12:45 pm CDT

The U.S. Department of Defense notified American Airlines that it had activated Stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Starting August 23, 2021, American announced it would be ready to deploy three widebody aircraft to military bases and other secure transit points on the Arabian Peninsula and in Europe to assist with the emergency evacuation of U.S. citizens and refugees coming from Kabul, Afghanistan.

'American Airlines is part of the program and is proud and grateful of our pilots and flight attendants, who will be operating these trips to be a part of this life-saving effort,' stated the press release.

American intends to minimize the impact to customers as the airline temporarily removes these aircraft from commercial operation. The airline appreciates customers’ patience and understanding as it works to accommodate flights.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, American has been assisting the U.S. government's vaccine distribution needs.

Recently, American Airlines moved 4.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Guatemala. The shipment on July 24, 2021, follows 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that American transported to Guatemala earlier in July.

American Airlines Group's (AAL) purpose is to care for people on life’s journey. American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. Learn more about what’s happening at American by visiting news.aa.com.

Note: On August 22, 2021, the U.S. DOD confirmed the activation is for 18 aircraft: three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, and Omni Air; two from Hawaiian Airlines; and four from United Airlines. The DOD does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights from this activation.

Aug 22, 2021 • 10:02 am CDT

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) new report indicates the air travel industry is experiencing another dismal month during August 2021 compared to 2019.

According to the TSA's reporting on August 21, 2021, the daily air passenger screening volume is well below the 2 million-plus metic realized pre-COVID-19 pandemic.

The TSA says, 'Airline travelers should check with their airline on additional inflight restrictions before taking their trip. In addition, all commuters and travelers should check with the U.S. CDC website for additional guidance.'

The TSA recently announced (Aug. 20) extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the USA, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, over-the-road buses, and commuter bus or rail systems through January 18, 2022.

Exemptions to the face mask requirement for travelers under the age of 2 years old and those with certain disabilities, as well as civil penalty fines, will also remain in place.

Individuals who require screening assistance due to a disability, medical condition, or other special circumstance may contact TSA Cares at least 72 hours before their flight by calling (855) 787-2227. For additional information about TSA procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of our “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign, visit tsa.gov/coronavirus.

David P. Pekoske is the TSA Administrator responsible for a workforce of approximately 60,000 employees charged with protecting U.S. transportation systems and the traveling public. 

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Aug 14, 2021 • 7:55 pm CDT

The Ministry of Health of Cote d’Ivoire confirmed on August 14, 2021, the country’s first case of Ebola since 1994. This patient was hospitalized in Abidjan on August 12th, after arriving from Guinea.

There is no indication that the current case in Cote d’Ivoire is linked to the earlier outbreak in Guinea. Guinea recently experienced a four-month-long Ebola outbreak, which was declared over in June 2021.

Further investigation and genomic sequencing will identify the strain and determine a connection between the two Ebola outbreaks.

“It is of immense concern that this outbreak has been declared in Abidjan, a metropolis of more than 4 million people,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

The WHO is helping to coordinate cross-border Ebola response activities, and 5,000 Ebola vaccines doses which the organization helped secure to fight the outbreak in Guinea, are now being transferred to Cote d’Ivoire.

In addition, a multidisciplinary team of WHO experts covering all key response areas will be deployed rapidly to the field. They will help ramp up infection prevention and control of health facilities, diagnostics, contact tracing, treatment, and reaching out to communities to ensure they take a key role in the response. 

Cote d’Ivoire declared the outbreak in line with International Health Regulations, and WHO does not advise any travel restrictions to and from the country.

While countries are focused on the COVID-19 response, they should strengthen their preparedness for potential Ebola cases, says the WHO.

Ebola is a severe, often fatal illness affecting humans and other primates. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

As of August 14, 2021, there are various Ebola preventive vaccines available.

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Aug 12, 2021 • 5:19 pm CDT

One dose of a new monoclonal antibody discovered and developed at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) safely prevented malaria for up to nine months in people exposed to the malaria parasite.

This clinical trial is the first to demonstrate that a monoclonal antibody can prevent malaria in people.

“Malaria continues to be a major cause of illness and death in many regions of the world, especially in infants and young children," stated Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

“The results reported suggest that a single infusion of a monoclonal antibody can (temporary) protect people from malaria."

The findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine on August 11, 2021. 

According to the WHO, malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito injects the parasites in a form called sporozoites into the skin and bloodstream.

An estimated 229 million malaria cases occurred worldwide in 2019, resulting in an estimated 409,000 deaths, mostly in children in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority of cases in the USA are in travelers returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs.

As of August 12, 2021, the U.S. FDA had not Approved a malaria vaccine.

However, GSK's Mosquirix RTS, S/AS01e, is a recombinant vaccine consisting of the P. falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP) from the pre-erythrocytic stage. Mosquirix is being tested in three African countries, aiming to trigger the immune system to defend against the first stages when the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite enters the human host’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite and infects liver cells.

And BioNTech SE announced on July 26, 2021, it intends to build on its success in COVID-19 by developing the first vaccine for malaria based on mRNA technology, planning to start clinical testing in late 2022.

Aug 10, 2021 • 5:28 pm CDT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a very-high level Travel Advisory for the country of Israel on August 9, 2021.

The new CDC Advisory says, 'avoid travel to Israel.'

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

And, travelers should follow recommendations or requirements in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

As the COVID-19 situation worldwide changes, the CDC is monitoring COVID-19 risk in destinations and making travel recommendations, which are published on this webpage.

Note: Effective 11.8.2021, and until the new outline takes effect, these are the destinations with a COVID-19 travel warning issued by Israel. Travelers returning from which shall be required to complete the full isolation period:

Please see the Israeli Ministry of Health website for additional guidance and the related COVID-19 case map.

Aug 10, 2021 • 12:17 pm CDT

The Ministry of Health of Guinea informed the World Health Organization (WHO) on August 9, 2021, of a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease (MVD) in Guéckédou Prefecture, Nzérékoré Region, south-western Guinea.  

The village where the MVD case resided is near both Sierra Leone and Liberian borders.

This is the first known case of Marburg virus disease in Guinea and West Africa.

The MVD case, a male, had attended a small health facility near his village of residence with symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, and gingival hemorrhage. A rapid diagnostic test for malaria was performed, which was negative.

However, on August 2, 2021, he died in the community, and the sub-prefecture public health care facility alerted the prefectorial department of health in Guéckédou.

Following the alert, an investigation team comprised of national authorities and WHO experts were deployed to conduct an in-depth investigation.

On August 3rd, a real-time PCR was conducted, which confirmed the sample was positive for Marburg virus disease and negative for Ebola virus disease.

Since then, three family members and a healthcare worker were identified as high-risk close contacts, and their health is being monitored.

Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent, epidemic-prone disease associated with high case fatality rates (24-90%), says the WHO.

Currently, there is no specific therapeutic, drug, or vaccine approved to prevent MVD. 

The Guinea Ministry of Health, together with WHO, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ALIMA, Red Cross, UNICEF, The International Organization for Migration, and other partners, have initiated measures to control the outbreak and prevent further spread. Contact tracing is ongoing, along with active case searching in health facilities and at the community level.