Dr Anthony Fauci says it will be safe to travel to US from Ireland in November

Biden’s top medical adviser says vaccination will be required for foreign visitors to US

Dr Anthony Fauci has said travel to the US from Ireland will be safe in November, when the US’s pandemic travel restrictions are eased. File photograph: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times

Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the president of the US, has said travel to the US from Ireland will be safe in November, when the US's pandemic travel restrictions are eased.

Dr Fauci said foreign nationals travelling from other countries into the US will have to be vaccinated and tested for Covid-19 before getting on the plane.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week radio programme, president Joe Biden’s top medical adviser said that despite infection rates being high in the US, they were starting to see a decline.

"I think the combination of the fact that it will be in November, and the fact that there are requirements for vaccination as part of this policy initiative the president announced . . . I believe it will be safe for people from Ireland to visit the United States. "


He said that children should wear a mask on the plane, and most aircraft have Hepa air filters. “We still recommend in the United States that even if you are vaccinated . . . it’s recommended that you still wear a mask [in some indoor settings].”

Currently foreign travellers are banned from entering the US if they have been in the EU, the UK, China, India, Iran, Brazil or South Africa in the previous 14 days. However, the White House announced on Monday that foreign visitors from 33 countries, including the Republic, will be permitted to enter the US from November if they demonstrate proof of vaccination and a negative test for Covid-19 taken in the previous three days.

Vaccinating children

With regards to vaccinating children against Covid-19, Dr Fauci said that Pfizer’s data stating that their two-shot vaccine is safe for children under 12 will be examined by the US Food and Drug Administration.

“I have every reason to believe the statements they make will be backed up by data.”

He is hopeful that this vaccine will be rolled out to American children in the coming weeks. “We are hoping that a decision will be made by the end of October.”

Dr Fauci added that in the US, they believe that children should be vaccinated, even though they are less likely to experience serious illness if they catch Covid-19.

“If you look at the paediatric hospitals in the United States, they are getting filled with children. That’s certainly due to the fact we are dealing with the Delta variant.

“Quantitatively, there are more children requiring hospitalisation. So even though relatively speaking when you compare them to adults the risk is less . . . it’s not a zero risk at all.”

More people have now died from Covid-19 in the US than in the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.

Dr Fauci added that there are 70 million people in US states who are eligible for a vaccine but haven’t received one.

Social media misinformation is a very serious issue in relation to this, according to Dr Fauci. “People refuse on ideological grounds, there’s almost political connotations to it.”

He said this is very damaging to the public health effort.

He added that in the US booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines will be recommended for vulnerable people first, and any extension of this will depend on further data on vaccine efficacy trends. Additional reporting: PA