The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on international travelers as the national public health emergency is set to expire next month.
The CDC said in an update on its website posted Thursday that it will consider anyone who has received a single dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine on or after Aug. 16 of last year to meet the requirements for boarding an airplane to the United States.
The agency said it made the decision because some traveler vaccine records might not specify whether a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine that a person received was bivalent, meaning they were designed to protect against the original version of the coronavirus and the omicron variants.
It said it chose Aug. 16 because it is the earliest date that someone could have received a bivalent vaccine.
The CDC backed guidance from the Food and Drug Administration last week to simplify the recommended vaccine schedule. The move decided that a single dose of the bivalent booster vaccine is enough for most people.
The CDC also allowed those 65 and older to receive an additional booster dose and medical providers to give additional doses to immunocompromised individuals as needed.
The agency’s rules on international travelers do not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or immigrants.
CBS News reported that multiple travel industry officials have said the vaccine requirement for international travelers is expected to be allowed to end soon.
President Biden signed legislation earlier this month to declare the COVID-19 national emergency over after members of both parties voted for a resolution to do so.
Anthony Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that the country should “move forward” from the public health emergency but remain attentive to the virus and maintain resources to help those infected.
“We want to be able to have some sort of a safety net for them to be able to get drugs and to get vaccines so those things don’t fall between the cracks,” Fauci said. “If we take care of that, I think it’s important to move forward.”