The European Union will allow vaccinated Americans to visit this summer, a top official told The New York Times.
EU and US officials are in talks about methods that could prove tourists’ vaccination status.
It would be a change from existing policy that restricts nonessential travel from the US.
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The European Union will allow Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit Europe this summer, a top official told The New York Times on Sunday.
It would be a change from policies that have been in place for more than a year. In March of 2020, EU leaders restricted most foreign travelers from entering Europe. Even when the bloc’s borders were partially opened in the summer, the US was excluded from that list, as its coronavirus outbreak deemed too risky.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU’s executive branch, told The Times. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”
Read more: To fight vaccine hesitancy, make access really, really convenient
All three vaccines authorized for use in the US, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have been approved by the EU’s drugs regulator.
“All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.,” von der Leyen said.
The Times reported US and EU officials have been in talks over acceptable vaccine certificates that would allow tourists to prove their vaccination status.
Last month, the EU proposed a vaccine passport system that would allow vaccinated EU citizens to travel more easily within the bloc by summer, Insider’s Marianne Guenot reported.
The EU official did not give The Times a timeline for when it might open for US tourists, noting that it will depend on the coronavirus situation in the US.
Daily coronavirus case numbers remain relatively flat in the US, though some states are seeing a rise, while vaccination rates remain high, with about 3 million people per day on average receiving a shot.
As of Sunday, more than half of all American adults had received at least one vaccine dose, while 36% were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite being one of the leading nations when it comes to vaccinations, the US could struggle to reach herd immunity, depending on the pace of reopenings and coronavirus variants, Insider’s Aria Bendix reported. Vaccine hesitancy is another obstacle and could make it difficult for the US to keep up its current rate of vaccinations.
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