Following the news of President Biden’s announcement that the US will have enough Covid-19 vaccine supplies for all US citizens by the end of May, Philipp Rosenbaum, Senior Healthcare Analyst at GlobalData, offers his view: “Getting every US-American adult vaccinated by May will require a big effort from the already exhausted healthcare system, in addition to motivating people to receive the vaccine. With increases in vaccine production from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, a newly authorised vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, and a manufacturing partnership between J&J and Merck&Co, confidence in reaching the goal is high.
“However, not every US-American wants to get vaccinated, and although the willingness to receive a Covid-19 vaccine has increased since last year, as available vaccines have been shown to be overwhelmingly safe and well tolerated, recent polls show that still only around 70 per cent of US-Americans want to get vaccinated. The percentage of vaccinated people to reach herd immunity is still unclear and debated but is likely to be around 70 per cent of the population. In some US states, vaccination uptake will be even lower than 70 per cent, potentially leaving enough people vulnerable and preventing the stop of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”
IATA will not ask for vaccines as requirement for flying
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Director General has said that the airline association is not asking for vaccination to be a requirement to fly.
In an online briefing, Alexandre de Juniac said: “We don’t believe that vaccines should be a requirement to fly. But if the European Union (EU) does implement a vaccine mandate, there must be a common standard for this across the EU. It is governments, not airlines, that will decide what travellers need to enter their country. There are significant populations who cannot or will not be vaccinated. As a practicality, we are preparing for governments to use a combination of testing and vaccination to re-open borders.”
De Juniac also said that the IATA Travel Pass is ‘not a vaccine passport’ and that it would hold test data for now. “It can accommodate vaccine data, should governments require it,” he added.
Cyprus to let vaccinated Brits into country from May
Elsewhere, Cyprus said it would open its borders to vaccinated UK travellers from the start of May, saying those who had both Covid vaccines could travel there without restrictions from 1 May.
However, this is more than two weeks before those in England are expected to be able to go abroad for holidays. Cyprus has not yet explained how tourists will be able to prove that they have had both vaccine doses.
Cyprus's Deputy Tourism Minister, Savvas Perdios, told the BBC that the country would allow Britons who had been given vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency the right to enter without the need for a negative test or to quarantine. Tourists would be required to have had their second dose at least seven days before travelling, the minister added.