The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday that international travelers can be vaccinated with mixed doses of approved COVID-19 shots, in another step to ease the return of friends, family and tourists into the United States and end the country’s more than a year-and-a-half of border closures to much of the world.
The CDC’s updated guidance came shortly after the White House said travel restrictions into the U.S. will be lifted Nov. 8, capping a nearly 21-month stretch that barred unrestricted visitation from China, Canada, Mexico and Europe, as well as many other places. The measures, first enacted in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to hammer the country, eviscerated the tourism industry and kept many families apart for nearly two years.
The guidance on vaccine mixing is particularly relevant to Canadians. At least 3.88 million people there have received a mix-dose regimen of shots and those in Canada had been left in administrative limbo. As long as travelers have been vaccinated with doses approved by either the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Administration, they will be allowed to enter the U.S.
Anyone flying into the country will be required to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight and proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
Unvaccinated foreign nationals are still largely restricted from entering the country, although there are some carve-outs for essential personnel and young children who are not yet eligible for a jab.
The CDC has not recommended mixing vaccines in the U.S., but the agency has said it is an “increasingly common” strategy in other nations.
The Biden administration has made several announcements in recent weeks regarding the nation’s borders. The Department of Homeland Security said the country’s land borders with Canada and Mexico would open to fully vaccinated foreign nationals, a move praised by lawmakers from border states who said the shift would allow families and friends to reunite.