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Even if you got one of these COVID vaccines, you’re still banned from entering the US

Published Nov 11th, 2021 9:05PM EST
covid vaccine
Image: weyo/Adobe

The US is open again, sort of. After barring nonessential foreign travel from much of the world for almost two years, that policy has now been reversed for visitors from 33 countries. Provided, of course, they can show proof, among other things, of vaccination with an approved COVID vaccine. “Approved,” being the million-dollar word here.

Before we delve deeper into that, here’s a bit more about the new policy now in place. In recent days, the US changed its stance such that those foreign visitors who enter the country by air need to show both proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test. If you’re coming into the US from the land borders with Mexico and Canada, however, you only need to show proof of vaccination.

CDC guidelines for COVID vaccine

nurse gives man vaccine shot
An adult male receives a vaccine from a doctor. Image source: cherryandbees/Adobe

“Non-citizens who are non-immigrants and seeking to enter the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from a foreign country,” the CDC explains. And the important thing to know about these new rules? That not all COVID vaccines are equal.

The CDC, for example, only accepts eight vaccines from foreign travelers entering the country. And those eight are the following: The shots from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

This leaves out jabs that millions of people around the world received in Russia, China, and Cuba. Which is to say, not on the approved US list are the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as China’s CanSino vaccine, and the Cuban vaccines Abdala, Soberana 02, and Soberana Plus.

US travel restrictions

To be sure, the updated travel restrictions for foreign visitors to the US are an attempt at something of a thoughtful trade-off. Community spread of COVID-19 in the US is still higher than what public health experts want to see. But the country also can’t stay closed off from the world forever.

Check out the CDC’s website for a detailed explanation of the COVID protocols here. The new rules, again, that you’ll find on that page apply to travelers who are non-US citizens. For example, the agency stresses that: “Your last dose must have been given a full 14 days before the day you board your flight to the United States.

“You are considered fully vaccinated on the 14th day after the vaccination series was completed. For example, if your last dose was any time on October 1st, then October 15th would be the first day that you meet the 14-day requirement.”

Andy Meek
Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.