Vaccinated Americans Can Travel to Europe This Summer

Vacation's all we ever wanted

St Peters Square, Vatican, Rome, Italy
Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

It's finally happening—Europe is set to re-open to American vacationers this summer.

In an interview with the New York Times, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the rapid pace of vaccination in the United States has prompted the European Union to prepare to welcome American tourists, more than a year after most member countries banned them due to the country's high COVID-19 case count.

"All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by [European Medicines Agency],” von der Leyen told the New York Times. Those approved vaccines include all three currently permitted to be administered in the U.S.: Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty), Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). Europe has also approved AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), which is not yet approved in the U.S.

It's a shocking role reversal—this time last year, the U.S. was the epicenter of the pandemic, with the majority of the world's countries banning Americans from visiting. But now, the U.S. has one of the most successful vaccination programs in the world.

Experts predict that the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by June when approximately 70 percent of the population is expected to be fully vaccinated. As such, the European Union feels confident to let Americans cross its member states' borders—though exactly when is still unclear. U.S. and European officials still need to hammer out the best method for proving vaccination status, whether through a digital health passport or simply via a paper vaccination card.

While this is inspiring news to Americans who have been homebound for the past year and change, don't rush to book your flight quite yet—individual countries within the European Union will still be able to add extra restrictions for travelers, such as quarantines upon arrival. Given the loss of tourism dollars throughout the pandemic, we wouldn't be surprised if many countries will welcome vaccinated travelers without hesitation.

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