COVID-19 Vaccination Process in the US. Learn about the documents you need when traveling to the United States.

COVID-19 or Coronavirus is a communicable disease, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. This disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2, also known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The whole world got affected by this virus and led to an ongoing pandemic.

This COVID-19 pandemic led to more than 21,000,000 confirmed cases. Not only this, it also resulted in more than 357,000 deaths. This country has nearly a quarter of the world’s cases and a fifth of all deaths. It affected the tourism industry in the country. Many countries around the world started carrying research including the U.S.

How did it start?

It all started when there was an announcement in Wuhan regarding the discovery of a cluster of pneumonia cases. This announcement was made on 31 December 2019. In America, the first case was reported on 20 January, 2020. President Donald Trump declared the US outbreak a public health emergency on 31 January.

 

COVID-19 in the U.S.

 The initial response to the pandemic was slow in the US, but restrictions were imposed on the flights arriving from China. President Donald Trump downplayed the threat and claimed that the outbreak was under control. In the month of February, the first known deaths occurred due to COVID-19.

Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act on 6 March. Under this act, $8.3 billion were provided in the emergency fund. This fund was provided for the federal agencies to respond to the outbreak.

Vaccines in the United States.

There are many countries around the world where the research is going on. There are primarily five to six companies in the US that are working on creating the vaccine. For large scale production of the vaccine, Congress has set aside more than $3.5 Billion for this purpose as a part of the CARES Act. Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is also working on the corona vaccine. This lab has previously studied other infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, MERS and ebola.

By March 18, 2020, tests had begun with a number of volunteers in Seattle. The US government-sponsored it. On August 5, 2020, the United States of America agreed to pay Johnson and Johnson more than $1 Billion. This amount was provided to create 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization(BIO) is a trade group including all makers of COVID-19 vaccine except AstraZeneca, which tried to persuade Secretary Azar. The main purpose of doing this was to publish strict FDA guidelines that can help ensure the safety and public uptake of the vaccine.

A request for Emergency use of authorization to the FDA was submitted by Pfizer-BioNtech. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced that the EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) request would be reviewed in a meeting of its vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on December 10.

The FDA granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer- BioNtech vaccine on December 11, 2020. The initial shipment of 2.9 million doses is scheduled to be distributed rapidly. Pfizer has promised to continue providing the rest of the 100 million doses through March 2021.

The FDA granted the Moderna Vaccine emergency use authorization on December 18, 2020. The United States of America plans to distribute 5.9 million doses rapidly.

 

Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism Industry:

This covid 19 pandemic has a huge impact on the tourism industry as there were many travel restrictions. COVID 19  has a huge impact on the tourism industry. In many parts of the world, the planned travel went down by 80-90%. There were entry bans and other restrictions for the citizens.

 

  • On December 12, 2020 travel spending just recorded $10.8 billion. This is the lowest amount collected since the week ending June 20 and also reflected a 48% drop below last year’s levels (a $10.2 billion loss).
  • Travel spending contracted in Connecticut and California. There are many states and territories that recorded losses greater than 50% year-over-year (y/y) rose from 12 to 14.
  • The travel economy of California deteriorated from -39% y/y at the end of November to -54% y/y last week due to rising COVID-19 cases and the re-implementation of lockdown measures.
  • This COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over $500 billion in cumulative losses for the U.S. travel economy. This loss equates to a daily loss of approximately $1.75 billion for the many past months.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regularly updates passengers screening numbers. It also provides a comparison to the same time last year. On a y/y basis, TSA screenings have fallen back to -68%, worse than any week since the end of September month.

Many states have imposed restrictions on travelers entering from out of state. This is done in order to prevent the infection. Here are the travel restrictions in some important US states:

 

Alaska:

 People traveling to Alaska will need to take a molecular-based COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure. They need to upload their negative test results into the Alaska Travel Portal. If anyone is awaiting test results, then he should upload proof that they took the test and should quarantine themselves until their test results arrive. It is recommended that one should take their second test between five and 14 days after their arrival. It is not mandatory but recommended to keep people safe from COVID-19.

 

California:

California’s governor- Gavin Newsom, issued a regional stay-at-home order on December 3. There was a crucial clause that was specified in the order stating that “no hotel or lodging entity in California shall accept or honor out of state reservations for non-essential travel,” until and unless a reservation is made for a stay of around 14 days. During this time, guests will quarantine themselves in their accommodations. If you are planning to visit California, then you should monitor the local restrictions.

 

Colorado:

This state does not have any statewide restrictions, but Petkin County sets its requirements. If you are planning to spend one or more nights in the area, then you should complete a Pitkin County Traveler Affidavit. Those who are aged ten or over are required to have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Tests that are acceptable are NAAT or PCR, but antigen tests are also accepted.

 

Connecticut:

 If you are entering Connecticut from one of the affected areas, you need to fill out a Connecticut Travel Health Form on your arrival. If you fail to do so, then it can lead to a civil penalty of $500 per violation.

 

Hawaii:

You can bypass quarantine here by taking a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a laboratory, certified from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), within 72 hours of arrival.

 

As of November 24, travelers who want to skip Hawaii’s mandatory quarantine should carry their negative test results with themselves.

If you are traveling to Kauai (an island in Hawaii), then, you need to isolate for the full isolation period.

 

Illinois:

This state does not have a statewide restriction, but Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order gets applied to anyone entering or returning to the city.

 

Kansas:

As of December 17, the quarantine rule applies to people who have attended out-of-state mass gatherings of 500 people or more. This is because, in mass gatherings, people don’t usually follow social distancing and also ignore wearing masks. For full details, you can check the state’s official website.

 

Final Words

The United States of America has been subjected to various epidemics and pandemics throughout its history, like the 1918 Spanish Flu, the 1957 Asian Flu, and the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemics. The Swine flu in 2009 pandemic took more than 12,000 American citizens, and more than 270,000 were hospitalized over the course of approximately a year.

 

According to the Global Health Security Index, the U.S. in 2020 was the “most prepared” nation.