The White House announced last week that in November it will reopen its doors to foreign travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with one of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, as reported by the Washington Post, the new rules governing entry into the United States would exclude the millions vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, nearly 300,000 Russians visited the country in 2019, in spite of the lurid relations between the two countries and the level 4 warning (danger of terrorism and government harassment) that the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Relations maintains over Russia.
However, now the American Executive hits the thousands of Russian travelers and the millions of Latin Americans who had no choice but to receive Sputnik V with a decision that could put on the table the possibility of issuing vaccination passports and that, in addition, drastically changes its international travel policy during the pandemic.
The Biden administration, which clearly prioritizes American manufacturers such as Moderna and Pfizer, had so far imposed no general pandemic-driven restrictions on travel from Russia other than the presentation of a negative PCR test.
Although Sputnik V has already been used in more than 60 countries, and Moscow was proud to be the first to release a potentially effective vaccine, neither the WHO nor the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has so far approved the vaccine for emergency use.
Not sufficiently reliable
Despite being the first vaccine to reach Phase III clinical trials, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet published a report in May indicating “lack of transparency” in the data provided on its effectiveness and “problematic data” in Phase I and II publications.
“Restricted access to data hampers trust in research,” read the article. “Access to data underpinning study findings is imperative to check and confirm the findings claimed.”
The paper finds it “even more serious” that there are “apparent errors and numerical inconsistencies” in the statistics on the results presented by the Russian authorities. “Regrettably, this seems to be what is happening in the case of the Sputnik V phase 3 trial,” it continues.
So, as approved by WHO and FDA, only travelers who have received the full vaccination schedule for the Pfizer/BioNtech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Janssen (Johnson&Johnson), Moderna, Sinopharm and CoronaVac formulations will be allowed access to the United States.
The vaccines that are left off the list together with Sputnik V are the Cuban-produced formulas Abdalá and Soberana, and the recently promoted American formula Novavax.