The United States reopened its borders to vaccinated international travelers from 33 countries, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, New York, and Puerto Rico.
- District of Columbia: The United States on Monday reopened its borders for travelers from 33 countries who can provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test—and airlines and tourist destinations have braced for an "onslaught" of travelers. The travel ban was lifted for many European countries even though the World Health Organization this month declared the region as the latest pandemic "epicenter"—with many countries experiencing a public health crisis due to low vaccination rates amid the highly transmissible delta variant. (Timsit, Washington Post, 11/8; Sampson/Compton, Washington Post, 11/8; Associated Press, 11/4)
- New York: The National Basketball Association (NBA) on Sunday recommended Covid-19 vaccine booster shots for all players, coaches, and referees. While the NBA has not implemented a vaccine mandate, it has incentivized players to get vaccinated against the coronavirus—and around 97% of players are fully vaccinated. NBA officials encouraged the booster shot based on data that suggested "antibody levels for Pfizer and Moderna recipients wane after six months, and after two months for Johnson & Johnson recipients." According to a memo published on the NBA's site, players, coaches, and referees who do not get a booster shot will undergo game-day testing beginning Dec. 1. (Axios, 11/7; AP/NBA, 11/7)
- Puerto Rico: Pedro Pierluisi, governor of Puerto Rico, on Wednesday announced children five years old and older will be required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine to be allowed to attend school. While there will be minimal exceptions to the requirement, Health Secretary Carlos Mellado said the goal is to get 95% of children between ages 5 and 11 fully vaccinated. Notably, Puerto Rico currently has the highest vaccination rate of any U.S. state or territory—with 72% of its residents fully vaccinated. (Lonas, The Hill, 11/5)