A White House official told Global News the new policy applies to international air travellers as well.
On Nov. 8, non-essential travellers crossing land borders from Canada or Mexico will be asked about their vaccination status, and only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed through. Proof of vaccination will be required if selected for random screening.
COVID-19 testing will not be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided visitors meet vaccination requirements, officials said. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test is still required to board a flight to the U.S., and proof of vaccination will be mandatory.
The news was also shared by White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz in a tweet Friday.
“The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov. 8,” he said.
“This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent.”
The US’ new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States will begin on Nov 8. This announcement and date applies to both international air travel and land travel. This policy is guided by public health, stringent, and consistent. https://t.co/uaDiVrjtqi
— Kevin Munoz (@KMunoz46) October 15, 2021
The White House added that by January 2022, foreign nationals travelling across the land border for both essential and non-essential reasons will be required to be fully vaccinated.
It remains unclear whether Canadians with mixed vaccination will be allowed into the U.S., but Canadian health officials say they’re relentless in trying to convince their American counterparts.
“It’s been a full court press, or no stone unturned in terms of our discussions with U.S. officials … with respect to showing them the Canadian data and why we’ve done so well with our mixed-dose schedule,” Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer of Canada, said during a press conference Friday.
“They’re open to the idea, we’ve given them the data and I know that they’re other discussions ongoing.”
While the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approved in both countries, AstraZeneca — a vaccine that contributed to a good portion of Canada’s uptake — has not been given the green light for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In recent days, the U.S. announced that travellers who received any vaccines approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as the World Health Organization, will be allowed to enter the country.
This means Canadians who received AstraZeneca’s vaccine — which is approved by the WHO — will be welcomed.
But the 3,911,303 Canadians who received mixed doses are still in limbo.
“The prospect of millions of Canadian travellers being indefinitely denied access to the United States because they received mixed doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is deeply concerning,” said U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins in a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday.
“Border communities are desperate to reunite with their loved ones in Canada and the United States. Our livelihoods and way of life depend on the free flow of goods, services, and people across the border – often multiple times per day.”
A U.S. FDA panel is meeting Friday to discuss vaccines at large, and the question about mixed dose schedules will reportedly be a talking point.
Further guidance on acceptable proof of vaccination, limited exceptions and other details will be provided “well in advance of Nov. 8 to enable preparation for a smooth transition to the new system,” the White House source told Global News.
The CDC “has already informed airlines that all FDA approved and authorized vaccines, as well as all vaccines that have an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the WHO will be accepted for air travel. We anticipate the same will be true at the land border,” the source added.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens feels Americans should allow Canadians with mixed vaccines into the country.
“People here did the right thing and they should be treated as if they did the right thing [when] crossing the border, knowing that they have strong protection against COVID-19 if they’re fully vaccinated, even if it is a mixed dose,” he previously told Global News.
“Americans should accept that.”
— With files from Reggie CecchiniInternet Explorer Channel Network