U.S. tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to visit the European Union next summer. It has been confirmed to the New York Times by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen during an interview on Sunday morning.
There has been no timeline indicated for the implementation of this measure, but this will have to be conditional to the successful launch and mutual approval of an international vaccine passport that would be commonly accepted both by the European Union and by the U.S. European countries are in advanced talks for the definition of a common document format that will be adopted by all 27 countries and is expected to launch some time in June.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” Ms von der Leyen said, “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union”. All three vaccines approved for use in the U.S., Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Some of the countries whose GDP is heavily reliant on tourism have been spearheading the initiative to start welcoming vaccinated visitors from outside the European Union. Greece and Croatia had already taken this decision earlier this month, as well as Iceland, and United Airlines was very swift to announce new flights from their U.S. hubs to these countries to jump start international travel that is still 70% below the level experienced in pre-pandemic days.
The United States has made “huge progress” and is “on track” to achieve a 70% herd immunity by mid-June, President von der Leyen said in commenting the rationale behind her suggestion.