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EU says people with AZ shots should be able to travel to US

file photo: jetblue event marking first transatlantic flight between new york and london at jfk international airport in new york city
File Photo: Passengers wearing protective masks are seen aboard before a JetBlue flight to London at JFK International Airport in the Queens borough of New York City

The European Commission said on Tuesday it would make sense for the United States to allow travel by people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots, although existing U.S. guidance already authorises those travellers.

On Monday, the White House said it would lift restrictions from November that bar EU citizens, including those fully vaccinated, from traveling to the United States.

“We believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe,” Eric Mamer, a spokesperson for the EU Commission, told a news conference.

“From our point of view, obviously it would make sense for people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca to be able to travel,” the spokesperson added, noting that this, however, was a decision for the U.S. authorities.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it currently considers people to be fully vaccinated, and therefore able to travel by air to the U.S., if they have received any of the FDA-authorized vaccines or shots approved by the World Health Organization, which include AstraZeneca’s.

The regulatory U.S. Food and Drug Administration has so far authorised for use the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech , Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, but is still reviewing the AstraZeneca shot.

The WHO has authorised the AstraZeneca vaccine, including the version made in Europe. The shot is also approved for use in the 27 EU countries where about 70 million doses have been administered cumulatively, according to public data.

The EU has its own safe-travel list, from which the United States was recently removed after a spike in infections there.

Most EU countries do not accept foreign nationals vaccinated with shots which are not authorised at EU level.

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