Ja vaccination card good for travel to US, says TuftonWednesday, October 27, 2021
BY ALPHEA SUMNER
Fully vaccinated Ja maicans travelling to the United States as of November 8, 2021 should face no challenges entering that country with the paper-based COVID-19 vaccination certificate currently issued here.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton gave assurance of the validity of the card for international travel yesterday, as the ministry announced that the December timeline for the issuing of digital vaccination cards is still on track.
“The cards will suffice. What I would advise is that persons ensure that they get vaccinated, complete their vaccination process. That card [will] become important for them to travel after the eighth [of November]. That card is being used elsewhere in Europe. People travel every day, so it will hold until we make the transmission,” Dr Tufton said at the ministry's COVID Conversations press conference.
Permanent Secretary Dunstan Bryan said the production of the digital cards is being done under a bilateral arrangement with the Government of India, and will therefore come at no cost to the Jamaican Government.
Cabinet has approved negotiations with an Indian non-governmental organisation (NGO) to develop the cards, utilising a solution which is used in other jurisdictions.
“There is no cost for the solution at this point in time, as it is through an NGO, in collaboration with the Government of India, that we will be launching our platform for the electronic vaccination card,” he stated.
Bryan said the December timeline remains in place and that in anticipation of the transition to an electronic card, beginning next week, the ministry will carry out a validation process to verify data of people who have been vaccinated, to ensure features such as correct name spelling, addresses, and dates of birth.
On Monday, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that as of November 8 all non-immigrant, non-citizen air travellers to the USA will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to that country.
The policy only makes exceptions for children under 18, people medically unable to receive the vaccine, and emergency travellers who do not have timely access to a vaccine. Humanitarian exemptions will be granted on an extremely limited basis, the CDC said.
US citizens and legal permanent residents who are eligible to travel but are not fully vaccinated will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test one day before their flight.
Tufton said the new US requirement for proof of vaccination is an indication of what can be expected internationally and locally in the near future.
“That is a significant commentary on where the world is going and it sets the stage for variations of that, including locally in our own population,” he said, urging Jamaicans to get vaccinated.