INOCULATION BONUS: Vaccine committee reviewing eased travel restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals

INOCULATION BONUS: Vaccine committee reviewing eased travel restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee is reviewing options for a new travel regime that could see travel requirements for fully vaccinated individuals in The Bahamas eased, according to committee Chairperson Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis.

“The competent authority will announce the various revisions or changes to the policy for travel, but if you are fully vaccinated — and you see what is going on with the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, for their domestic travel — two weeks after you’re fully vaccinated, you’re not required to do any testing and you can move freely within states,” Dahl-Regis said in response to questions from Eyewitness News.

Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis. (FILE PHOTO)

“We are looking at all of the options given that we are an archipelago and some of our islands have gone almost 200 days without a case of COVID.

“And should someone be fully vaccinated, that policy is being considered and discussed and in a short time, as we approach the second dose of vaccinations, the competent authority will unveil whatever the new policy is, but it is certainly being discussed.”

Earlier this month, the CDC updated its domestic travel guidance in the US for fully vaccinated people, lifting certain testing and self-quarantine requirements and other recommended precautions, such as wearing face masks.

Though health officials continue to discourage nonessential travel, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can “travel safely within the United States”.

As pointed out by Dahl-Regis, the CDC considers someone fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive the last required vaccine dose.

The CDC did not lift travel restrictions barring the entry of most non-US citizens from countries such as China, Brazil, South Africa and part of Europe, and will continue the requirement for airline passengers entering the US to get a test within three days of their departure and show proof of a negative test before boarding.

Oxford AstraZeneca is a two-dose vaccine.

Recipients of the first dose in The Bahamas can expect to be contacted via email about their second dose early next month.

To date, nearly 22,000 people in The Bahamas have received a first dose of the vaccine.

The Bahamas is expected to receive an additional 33,000 vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility before the end of May.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.