Visa Crunch

International Travellers Advised Booster Dose; May Become Mandatory In 2022

International students travelling abroad will be relieved to know that you don’t need a booster vaccine for travel just yet, but it may become a mandate in the upcoming new year.

The world was trying hard to recover from Covid-19 and Omicron, a new and highly-infectious strain of Covid-19 has emerged. As the number of Omicron infections continues to increase, the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Australia have all broken records for daily reported cases, raising the question of when a return to normalcy may appear feasible.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published a number of updates concerning the new variant. The incident manager of Covid-19 at WHO, Dr Abdi Mahamud, stated that while data indicating Omicron causes milder diseases is reassuring, it has primarily spread among younger, more hardy people, making it impossible to establish how bad it truly is.

“We all want this disease to be milder, but the population it affected so far is the younger,” he said on December 29. “How it behaves in the elderly population, the vulnerable — we don’t know yet.”

Most people in South Africa, where the strain developed, have antibodies from the previous infection, stated Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s health emergency division. This could have had a role in the variant’s alleged reduced effects in the area.

“What we haven’t seen is the Omicron wave fully established in the broader population,” he said. “I’m a little nervous to make positive predictions until we see how well the vaccine protection is going to work in those older and more vulnerable populations.”

In an effort to fight this outbreak, at least 126 governments have recommended their citizens to receive a booster immunization. The WHO emphasizes that the majority of them are categorized as high-income or upper-middle-income, implying that the majority of higher education destinations for international students will have advocated this form of action.

However, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada have all made booster immunizations available to individuals aged 18 and above.

Most of the countries have also reduced the prescribed six-month time gap between two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. As of now, booster shots have not been made a compulsion by any country in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

This is likely to alter next year if Omicron continues to spread, which, given the circumstances, appears to be the most likely scenario. Countries including Croatia, Australia, and New Zealand have confirmed that the validity of vaccine passports will be limited.

Travellers will only be regarded as fully vaccinated after their second dosage or booster for one year. The United Kingdom (UK) has recently modified its National Health Service (NHS) application to include a third booster jab for travel, a subtle gesture to encourage its citizens to acquire a booster dose.

Many colleges among the major Ivy Leagues require students to acquire a booster immunisation in order to attend school. United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand require fully vaccinated visitors to enter their borders. Travellers must have completed a full course of any Covid-19 vaccine recognized by the government’s health authorities in order to enter.

In addition, travellers are frequently required to take many Covid-19 tests both before departure and upon arrival, and they are usually restricted to hotel quarantine or self-isolation once they arrive.

Currently, the UK does not require all visitors to be completely vaccinated before entering the nation. Travellers and students who are not fully jabbed will be subjected to a 10-day hotel quarantine even if their Covid-19 arrival result is negative, which is not needed for fully vaccinated travellers.

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