Biden signs order that allows Nigerians to receive vaccines in US

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President Biden is quickly signing executive actions on coronavirus, climate change and racial inequality
President Joe Biden signing an executive order

President Joe Biden on Monday signed an order that allows non-tourist travellers from Nigeria and 49 other countries to receive vaccines on arriving in the United States.

According to the proclamation, non-tourist travelers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10% will also be eligible for exemption from the rules.

Those receiving an exemption will generally need to be vaccinated within 60 days after arriving in the United States.

Those countries include Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Armenia, Myanmar, Iraq, Nicaragua, Senegal, Uganda, Libya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Congo, Kenya, Yemen, Haiti, Chad and Madagascar.

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Less than 10% of Nigerians have received their full COVID vaccination

The White House first disclosed on Sept. 20 it would remove restrictions in early November for fully vaccinated air travelers from 33 countries.

“Families and friends can see each other again, tourists can visit our amazing landmarks. This policy will further boost economic recovery,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The Biden administration also detailed requirements airlines must follow to confirm foreign travelers have been vaccinated before boarding US-bound flights.

One concern among U.S. officials and airlines is making sure foreign travelers are aware of the new vaccine rules that will take effect in just two weeks as well unvaccinated Americans who will face stricter testing rules.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued on Monday new contact tracing rules requiring airlines to collect information from international air passengers like phone numbers, email and US addresses and retain it for 30 days in case it needed “to follow up with travelers who have been exposed to COVID-19 variants or other pathogens.”

The CDC said this month it would accept any vaccine authorized for use by US regulators or the World Health Organization and will accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from travelers.

That list leaves off the Sputnik vaccine that has been used by Latin American countries extensively.

Also on Monday Biden signed an order imposing new vaccine requirements for most foreign national air travelers and lifting severe travel restrictions on China, India and much of Europe effective November 8, the White House said.

“It is in the interests of the United States to move away from the country-by-country restrictions previously applied during the COVID-19 pandemic and to adopt an air travel policy that relies primarily on vaccination to advance the safe resumption of international air travel to the United States,” Biden’s proclamation says.

The extraordinary US travel restrictions were first imposed in early 2020 to address the spread of COVID-19. The rules bar most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

The White House confirmed that children under 18 are exempt from the new vaccine requirements as are people with some medical issues.