By Shannon Mcmahon
Washington - With coronavirus vaccination efforts mounting in many parts of the world, some travellers may be looking forward to their inoculation in hopes of travelling again.
And while there are growing arguments against vaccine passports, some nations have begun allowing vaccinated travellers to bypass the usual entry requirements, like a 14-day quarantine.
European nations and remote tropical islands are among the destinations welcoming vaccinated travellers even though health experts remain uncertain about coronavirus vaccines' ability to prevent transmission of the virus.
Most vaccines "have not proven that they decrease transmission, so the patient may still get mild or asymptomatic versions of the disease and they may then be able to transmit it," said Carlos Acuna-Villaorduna, an infectious-disease physician at Boston Medical Center. "We don't know yet, but there are groups studying that."
The risk associated with allowing vaccinated travellers, for now, is that they might carry a contagious amount of the virus without being sick and infect unvaccinated people in the destination they are visiting. Perhaps for that reason, some nations allowing vaccinated visitors are still requiring coronavirus tests before arrival.
Here are the destinations that have so far announced that they will allow vaccinated travellers to enter, and what the terms of entry are.
The islands of the Seychelles now allow "all visitors from any part of the world who have been vaccinated" to enter without quarantining. The Seychelles' list of permitted countries for incoming travel no longer applies to those who are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before their arrival.
Vaccinated visitors will still be required to supply a negative coronavirus test result in the form of a PCR test taken less than 72 hours before travel. Those vaccinated, tested visitors are "allowed free movement throughout their stay in Seychelles," the islands' tourism board said in a statement.
The non-E.U. nation of Georgia reopened this month to travellers who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. It will not require testing or prevent those from high-risk nations from entering.
"Citizens of all countries, travelling by air from any country may enter Georgia if they present the document confirming the full course (two doses) of any Covid-19 vaccination at the border checkpoints of Georgia," the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The government of Estonia, which does not permit U.S.-based travellers because of E.U. entry restrictions, recently announced it will now allow individuals from lower-risk countries who have recovered from the coronavirus or have received an approved coronavirus vaccine, both in the last six months, to visit without quarantining. Proof of previously testing positive for the coronavirus or a vaccination certificate in English, Russian or Estonian will be accepted for entry.
The E.U. nation of Romania, which does not permit Americans to enter, lifted quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers on Jan. 18, according to U.K. officials. Travellers from permitted countries such as England will be allowed entry without testing or quarantine after 10 days from their final dose of the vaccine.
Beginning in May, travelers from low-risk countries in Europe may enter Iceland, an E.U. member, without restrictions if they are fully vaccinated.
Travellers "who are in possession of valid documentation that proves prior infection or vaccination against Covid-19" can skip Iceland's screening and quarantine measures, the country's government says. The country also notes that its "unique geographical position" may contribute to "measures at the border [that] will most likely be stricter than those prescribed by the EU."
The island of Cyprus, which is considered European territory by the European Union and is not allowing U.S. travellers to enter, has also announced that starting in March, it will welcome vaccinated travellers who are permitted to visit Europe.
The government of Poland, which is also subject to E.U. rules denying Americans entry until further notice, allows travellers from European Union nations to enter with proof of vaccination.
"Persons who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 are exempted from the obligatory quarantine (on the basis of a certificate confirming vaccination against Covid-19)," Poland's entry rules state. The permissions for vaccinated travellers have been in place since December 28.