Will the US accept Astrazeneca vaccine for travel? US restrictions for UK visitors explained - as ban lifted

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The 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers entering the US will be lifted from November

Fully vaccinated travellers from the UK will be able to visit the US again as the country confirms its travel ban will be lifted.

The White House announced the 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers entering the US, which was introduced by former President Donald Trump last year, will come to an end from November.

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Since March 2020, only US citizens, their immediate families, green card holders and people with national interest exemptions have been able to enter the country if they had been in the UK or EU in the previous 14 days.

What will the entry requirements be for UK travellers?

While the reinstatement of transatlantic travel marks a welcome boost for major airlines, which have blamed the travel ban for limiting the recovery of passenger numbers during the pandemic, the easing of rules will only apply to those who have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who announced the end of the travel ban, said all foreign visitors will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination, as well as proof of a negative test taken within the previous three days before departure.

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Airlines will also be required to collect contact information from international travellers so that they can be traced if required.

Can I travel to the US if I had the AstraZeneca vaccine?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognises travellers who have received the Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen (from Johnson & Johnson) vaccines as being fully vaccinated.

However, it has been suggested that Britons who have had two doses of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine will be allowed to enter the country once restrictions are lifted in November.

Despite the vaccine not being approved by the FDA, the US acknowledges the approval of the jab by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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US chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci explained that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national public health agency will make the final decision on which vaccines will allow people to travel to the United States.

Mr Fauci said he does not believe there is any reason that people who received the AstraZeneca jab should not be allowed into the country.

Asked if he expects that anyone who had a vaccine approved by the UK government will be able to travel to the US, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I can’t account for every vaccine that has been approved by the UK.

“I am not sure about all of them but the specific one about AZ, given that we have a substantial amount of information on the AZ vaccine - again without being definitive about it - I would predict that there would not be a problem there.

“The final decision goes with the CDC.”

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The Prime Minister’s spokesman added that he was “confident” the AstraZeneca jab would be recognised by US border officials, despite the vaccine not being approved by the FDA.

Asked by reporters in New York whether there had been reassurance from US officials that the jab would be recognised by US authorities, he said: “I have got no indications that it won’t be.

“I am confident that every vaccine we have used, any vaccine received in the UK and approved by the NHS, obviously signed off by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), WHO will be applicable.”

When will US borders reopen to UK travellers?

UK travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to travel to the US from November.

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An exact date for the easing of travel rules has yet to be confirmed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “delighted” that US President Joe Biden is “reinstating transatlantic travel”, adding that it will be a “fantastic boost for business and trade”

No 10 said Britain represented a “significant market” to the States and that a US-UK task force, agreed at the G7 leaders’ meeting in Cornwall in June with the aim of opening up travel, had “helped expedite” Washington’s decision to relax its border controls.

Around 3.8 million British nationals visited the US every year prior to the pandemic, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

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Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye said: “Connectivity between the US and the UK is part of the bedrock of the global economy.

“The Prime Minister has secured a massive win for global Britain in getting these links restarted.”

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