Covaxin Receives WHO Approval
To the relief of the many who have received it, on November 3, Covaxin has now received an approval update by attaining Emergency Use Listing Procedure approval by the WHO. This means that those who have been fully vaccinated by Covaxin can now travel to the U.S. starting November 8 so long as they meet all other requirements, along with fully vaccinated travelers inoculated with all other approved vaccines. Covaxin was previously approved by countries such as Australia, Oman, Mexico, Greece, and the Philippines.
WHO officials found that Covaxin is nearly 78% effective against cases of COVID-19 where symptoms are shown, and over 65% effective against the contagious Delta variant. This data demonstrates that Covaxin is similar in its effectiveness to other vaccines previously approved by the WHO and FDA.
Full List of WHO and/or FDA-Approved COVID-19 Vaccines as of November 3
The following vaccines have now been approved for those traveling to the U.S. starting November 8.
- Covishield (Oxford/AstraZeneca formulation)
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
- Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV
The Road to Approval
Since the U.S. government announced in October that it would be reopening travel to fully vaccinated foreign nationals visiting the United States on November 8, elation has spread across the globe. Around the world, families who have been separated for the better part of two years or more were finally able to start making plans to reunite in the U.S.
However, soon thereafter, the U.S. announced that it would only be accepting fully vaccinated visitors who had been inoculated by an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or WHO (World Health Organization) approved vaccine.
This was disappointing news for countless individuals in India, as the country’s domestically developed vaccine, Covaxin, was not included on the list of WHO-approved vaccines at the time.
Developed by Bharat Biotech, approximately 91 million doses of Covaxin have been administered in India so far. However, as Covaxin had not yet received WHO approval, it left millions of potential travelers unsure when – or if – they would be allowed to visit the U.S.
This was especially frustrating seeing as India’s most popular vaccine, Covishield, had already received WHO approval. This is because Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, is identical to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the U.K., which had already received WHO approval. In contrast, Covaxin was developed independently by Bharat Biotech. The approval of Covaxin by the WHO has now eliminated this uncertainty, and now travelers who have taken Covaxin are approved to travel to the U.S.
Important Information for U.S. Travel
Regardless of the approved vaccine, you must have achieved full vaccination status a minimum of 14 days before you travel to the U.S. starting on November 8. For all vaccines except for Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), this means you must have received your second and final dose at least 14 days before travel. For the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, you must have received your one and only dose at least 14 days before travel. You will be required to provide proof of your vaccination status via the official record provided by your country. In the case of those vaccinated in India, this will be a full-page printout.
In addition, you must provide proof of a negative result of a coronavirus RT-PCR test taken within three days of travel to the U.S.
Click here for more information about testing, requirements, and exemptions to the U.S. travel rule.
Get Insurance Before Your USA Trip
You may be wondering if the new requirements for travel to the U.S. include a mandate for insurance coverage. The answer to this question is “no.” However, this does not mean you should forgo visitors insurance coverage.
On the contrary, visitors insurance is one thing you should not travel to the U.S. without. Although COVID cases are going down, it is still possible to contract the coronavirus, even if you are fully vaccinated.
You also have to remember that COVID is just one reason insurance is important. Colds and flus have not gone away, and your COVID vaccine does not protect you from them. You could also suffer a broken bone or other injury, or have a simple slip and fall that requires medical treatment. No vaccine can reduce your chances of that. With the high price of healthcare in the U.S., it only takes one unplanned illness or injury to land in you in major debt if you do not have insurance. Visitors insurance is essential protection that ensures you can enjoy reuniting with your family in the U.S. with less stress, and additional peace of mind.
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