A week ago the US relaxed prior pandemic restrictions on foreign travelers entering the country, announcing that vaccination proof and a negative Covid test would be required. However, one major foreign-produced vaccine will now be deemed not eligible as proof one is fully vaccinated.
Beginning in November, US rules will exclude Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as being considered an acceptable vaccine, the Washington Post reports, potentially impacting millions of travelers given that the Russian-produced vaccine could eventually see distribution to 70 other countries.
The Post indicated that for any non-citizen traveling inbound, they must be vaccinated with a shot on either the FDA or World Health Organization (WHO) list of 'emergency use' approved inoculations.
The United Kingdom also recently imposed travel restrictions which only recognizes specific vaccines as valid, which excludes Sputnik. Though US and international health officials have raised concerns over the manufacturing process utilized in making Sputnik V, Moscow sees the US and global bodies as playing politics over the science.
For example, earlier in the pandemic there were widespread accusations the State Department was waging an 'infowar' in Latin America specifically to dissuade countries from receiving Sputnik from Russia.
Days ago Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York urged mutual recognition of vaccines, saying that Moscow is ready to fight Covid as "our common enemy":
"COVID-19 is our common enemy. We support mutual recognition of vaccines approved by national oversight bodies, in the interests of lifting restrictions on international travel of citizens as soon as possible."
But the suspicion remains that in the case of Russia, Washington will continue to red flag its shot, despite mounting evidence that it's just as safe and effective as Western developed and manufactured vaccines.
Vaccine Diplomacy: The Surprising Success of Sputnik V https://t.co/8HovbKWUF4— SPIEGEL Ticker (@SPIEGEL_alles) March 30, 2021
For now it appears yet another example of the "trust the science" mantra being in reality supplanted by pure politics, or in this case geopolitical and economic rivalry and competition, which tends to distrust all things Russian.