These countries are open to vaccinated travelers — but not their kids

As more countries lift travel restrictions for those who have been vaccinated, the world is slowly opening to travelers again.

Travelers without kids, that is.

To date, no Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in children, said Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of the pediatric infectious disease division at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

Clinical trials are different for children, and factors such as dosage amounts and preexisting childhood vaccination schedules need to be examined before vaccines are approved for them, she said.

The countries opening to vaccinated travelers

Countries, such as Estonia and Seychelles, have opened borders and eliminated quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers. Greece and Thailand have indicated similar policies are in the works.

Other countries are granting vaccination exemptions to certain types of travelers. Georgia requires they enter by air from specific countries, and Slovenia’s policy only applies to those who have taken American- and European-made vaccines.

Slovenia is opening its borders to travelers who have received vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

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Iceland is allowing vaccinated travelers to bypass quarantine requirements, only if they are currently allowed to enter — and most people aren’t.

Trials in children have started, but will take time

Covid-19 vaccines made by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca are authorized for people aged 18 years and older. Those aged 16 years and over can take Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.

Vaccine trials in children have begun, but the ones that are farthest along involve older children and teenagers, said Dr. Jeremy Levin, chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a trade association for the biotech industry.

It’s critical to understand that trials in children may have to be different.

Dr. Jeremy Levin

chairman of BIO

Russia is seeking permission to conduct trials of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in children, though it hasn’t designated specific age groups yet, said Levin.

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“It’s critical to understand that trials in children may have to be different,” said Levin. “These trials may require longer to get a read-out because adverse effects of Covid-19 are rarer in this population.”

Infected children are often asymptomatic and don’t tend to get severely ill from Covid-19. Deaths in children are also rare.

When will kids be vaccinated?

Will exceptions be made for children to travel?

Family travel this summer

Amid an aggressive vaccination rollout that began in January, Seychelles opened to vaccinated travelers before announcing it would welcome all travelers come March 25.

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Families can also consider one of the few island hotspots that have kept Covid infection rates low, if they are willing to “vacation in place” together.

Most people, however, are expected to travel domestically this summer, a trend that is ringing true from the U.S. to China and Saudi Arabia. Published in January, a new report by TripAdvisor named domestic travel one of five trends to watch this year.

Others may stay home until medical authorities deem it safe to travel again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises people to “delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from Covid-19, even if you are vaccinated.”

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