Why are some people vaccinated with COVID-19 unable to travel to the US?
Because they may not be vaccinated with injections recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.
When it lifted foreign travel restrictions in November, the US required that adults coming to the country be fully vaccinated with injections approved or authorized by the FDA or authorized by the WHO.
Among the most commonly used vaccines that do not meet those criteria are the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and the Chinese CanSino vaccine. Sputnik V is authorized for use in more than 70 countries, while CanSino is authorized in at least nine countries. The WHO is still waiting for more data on both vaccines before making a decision.
Vaccines approved by the FDA and WHO undergo rigorous testing and evaluation to determine whether they are safe and effective. And of the vaccines in use internationally, experts say some are unlikely to be recognized by the authorities.
“Not all of them will be evaluated with the necessary precision in clinical trials,” says Dr. William Moss, executive director of the Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center.
An exception to the US rule are people who have received a full course of the Novavax vaccine at a late stage. The US will not accept a placebo from participants who received the vaccine, because it was a rigorous study overseen by an independent monitoring committee.
The US also allows entry to people who have received two doses of a “mix-and-match” combination of vaccines on the FDA and WHO lists.
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