Britons vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab will be allowed into the US when travel restrictions are eased this winter, America’s top Covid doctor suggested today.
Dr Anthony Fauci said he did not see ‘any reason’ why people given the UK-made vaccine should be denied entry, despite the jab not being approved in the US.
There were fears that AstraZeneca would not be recognised by American border officials when transatlantic travel is relaxed for the fully-jabbed from November.
The White House announced yesterday it is lifting the 18-month blanket travel ban introduced by Donald Trump at the start of the pandemic.
US regulators are due to set out which vaccines will be accepted on entry in the coming weeks, but Dr Fauci said he was confident AZ would make the cut.
He told the BBC: ‘I don’t believe there’s any reason to believe that people who have received the AZ vaccine should feel that there is going to be any problem with them.’
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said he was also confident the AstraZeneca vaccine would be recognised, claiming he had ‘no indications that it won’t be’.
The jab was the cornerstone of Britain’s original Covid vaccine rollout and has been deemed safe and effective by UK health chiefs and the World Health Organization (WHO).
But an extremely rare risk of blood clots, confusion about trial results and supply constraints led to the jab being politicised and restricted in many countries.
Dr Anthony Fauci assured Britons vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab they will be allowed into the US when travel restrictions are finally eased in November
Britain dropped restrictions on fully-vaccinated US visitors in July as a ‘goodwill gesture’. But, to the concern of ministers and anger of the travel industry, the US had not reciprocated until yesterday.
From November, vaccinated passengers will be able to enter the US from the UK and EU.
All foreign travellers will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination status before boarding a flight, as well as proof of a negative Covid test three days prior.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Dr Fauci was asked if anyone who has had a vaccine approved by the UK Government will be able to travel to the US.
Virgin Atlantic reports 91% bookings surge on flights to US after easing of restrictions
Britons are rushing to buy flights to the US after Joe Biden finally said the fully-vaccinated will be allowed in from November.
Bookings surged by up to 700 per cent within an hour of the President’s announcement and airlines’ share prices rocketed.
Meanwhile people who have been kept apart from their friends and family due to the restrictions shared their glee at the changes.
They said it ‘feels like a dream’ while noting how hard it had been to be separated for nearly two years.
The White House will lift the 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers – introduced by Donald Trump – for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ‘delighted’ President Biden was ‘reinstating transatlantic travel’.
He also said it will be ‘great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again’.
Britain dropped restrictions on fully-vaccinated US visitors in July as a ‘goodwill gesture’.
But, to the concern of ministers and anger of the travel industry, the US had not reciprocated.
Today’s decision was welcomed by the travel sector, as aviation chiefs said air links between the two countries are ‘part of the bedrock of the global economy’.
Dr Fauci told the 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.’
He noted that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make the final decision on which vaccines will be recognised for US entry.
Britain is currently only using three Covid vaccines as part of its rollout — AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, with the latter two also used in the US.
But a number of studies have shown that when administering booster third vaccine doses, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines produce better immunity.
For this reason, the UK is transitioning away from using its home-grown jab in favour of the mRNA vaccines.
Meanwhile, the US’ decision to relax travel rules was welcomed by the travel sector, as aviation chiefs said air links between the two countries are ‘part of the bedrock of the global economy’.
A BA spokesman reported searches for trips to the US spiked at nearly 700 per cent after the announcement.
They said: ‘In the hours following reports around the reopening of the US-UK travel corridor this November, British Airways Holidays saw an increase of nearly 700 per cent in searches for holidays to key US destinations compared to the same time last week.’
They added: ‘These included New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles and Boston.’
Virgin Atlantic reported bookings hitting 91 per cent within just an hour of the announcement.
CEO Shai Weiss said: ‘The US Government’s announcement that fully vaccinated UK visitors will be able to enter the US from November is a major milestone to the reopening of travel at scale across the Atlantic, allowing consumers and businesses to book travel to the US with confidence.
‘As the UK forges its recovery from the pandemic, the reopening of the transatlantic corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F acknowledges the great progress both nations have made in rolling out successful vaccine programmes.
‘The UK will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the US, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues.
‘We are thankful to Prime Minister Johnson and the UK Government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their collaboration.
‘The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years since our first flight to New York City in 1984. We are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic.
‘After 18 months of uncertainty, we cannot wait to welcome our customers back onboard, flying them safely to their favourite US destination.’
The White House has announced fully-vaccinated UK travellers will be able to visit the US from November. Boris Johnson has been pushing Joe Biden to make the move