The Biden Administration has announced it will end all COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international travel on May 11, 2023. The United States has had COVID travel restrictions in place since 2020.
The White House announced it will also end vaccine requirements for federal employees and contractors. These requirements are set to end the same day that the country’s COVID-19 “public health emergency” expires.
A statement from the White House on May 1 said that while vaccination is an important tool for the health and safety of employees and the “efficiency” of workplaces, these measures are “no longer necessary.”
“HHS and DHS announced today that they will start the process to end their vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, CMS-certified healthcare facilities, and certain noncitizens at the land border. In the coming days, further details related to ending these requirements will be provided.”
The statement also said that since January 2021, COVID-19 deaths declined by 95 percent and hospitalizations are down almost 91 percent.
Since 2020, the United States has required that roughly 3.5 million federal workers and contractors receive the COVID-19 vaccine and countless subsequent boosters. Similar requirements were in place for air travelers entering the country too.
This resulted in almost 270 million Americans receiving at least one vaccine.
The Department of Homeland Security issued its own statement on May 1.
“Beginning May 12, 2023, DHS will no longer require non-U.S. travelers entering the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination upon request.”
The DHS stated it also intends to rescind Title 19 travel restrictions, which could only end with the expiration of the country’s public health emergency and the Presidential Proclamation on air travel.
On Monday, April 10, 2023, the President signed H.J.Res.7 into law. This terminated the national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also teed up the end to restrictions still in place as a result of the national emergency.
The end of the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for international travel will coincide with the end of Trump’s Title 42, which prevented 2.5 million border crossings by turning away migrants trying to enter the US.
Title 42 also ends on May 11, 2023.
As The Publica recently reported, “The policy states that it will end when the public health emergency is over or when the CDC Director determines further introduction of COVID-19 has declined and it is no longer necessary to protect public health. In the past, the Biden admin temporarily lifted Title 42 through a CDC order. Several Republican states unsuccessfully sued to keep the policy in place.”
Less than two weeks ago, the FDA tweeted that “monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines were no longer authorized for use in the United States.”
Monovalent vaccines require two shots. Since their introduction during the pandemic, this vaccination schedule was required for many to keep their jobs or travel internationally.
The new FDA recommendation is a single bivalent vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna have both released newer versions of their jabs that include a new component to specifically target the omicron variant.