US to end COVID vaccine requirements
International air travellers will soon no longer have to show proof of COVID vaccination when arriving in the US, the White House says.
The US will lift the requirement on May 11, coinciding with the end of the coronavirus public health emergency in the country.
Vaccine rules will also be lifted for federal employees and contractors.
The US has one of the few remaining pandemic travel restrictions still in place.
The lifted restriction will also apply to non-US travellers entering via land ports of entry and ferries.
In a statement on Monday the White House said “we are now in a different phase of our response when these measures are no longer necessary”.
This change will allow Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, 35, to play at the US Open this year.
Because the 22-time Grand Slam winner is not vaccinated, he was forced to miss last year’s tournament.
He faced similar issues in 2022 with the Australian Open and was deported for his vaccination status before getting a chance to defend his title.
Representative Brian Higgins, who represents Buffalo and Niagara Falls in New York State, said this is good news for Canadians crossing into the US.
“While long overdue, this last lifting of pandemic restrictions is certainly welcome news and critically important as we seek opportunities to encourage a robust cross-border exchange that delivers shared prosperity,” Higgins said in a statement.
Last month, President Joe Biden signed a bill ending the COVID-19 national emergency – which allowed the US to implement sweeping measures in health and welfare systems to combat the country’s response to the virus.
Canada ended their COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international air travellers in October. (BBC)