Health authorities from the United Kingdom have added Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin to the list of immunizers to be accepted in order to spare incoming travelers a mandatory quarantine.
Until now, only those who had received Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen belonged to the elite group.
The new measure will become effective on Nov. 22, it was announced. Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said the country was still recioverying from the COVID-19 pandemic, which made the recognition of international vaccines possible. He added that the announcements mark the next step in our international travel restart.
So far, people vaccinated with Sinovac can only enter the UK if they quarantine for seven days. Sinovac is the most administered anticovid vaccine in Uruguay and Chile, where it is even produced locally. It is also quite common in Brazil.
Despite the new step in flexibility, Shapps warned the UK “will not hesitate to take action by adding countries to the red list if necessary.”
Early last month, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay were removed from the UK's red list. Sinopharm is widely used in Argentina.
Meanwhile, Covaxin has just been granted emergency approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week.
Last month, Covishield, the India-manufactured Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, was added to the UK's approved list.
The UK government has also simplified the travel rules for all under-18s arriving in England. They will now be treated as fully vaccinated at the border and will be exempt from self-isolation requirements on arrival, day-8 testing and pre-departure testing. They will only be required to take one post-arrival test and a confirmatory free PCR test if they test positive.
Meanwhile, the US has also given its nod for travelers who have taken both doses of Covaxin to enter the country from November 8. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) Wednesday acknowledged the WHO's decision regarding Covaxin, which was developed in India by the pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech.
Australia's government has also added Covaxin to its list of accepted COVID-19 vaccines, expanding the number of people who will be allowed to travel to Australia without quarantine. Apart from Covaxin, it has also recognised China's BBIBP-CorV vaccine, made by Sinopharm.