It’s a big step forward for Celebrity Cruises as the line announced it will now be accepting mixed mRNA vaccinated guests as fully vaccinated. While mixed vaccines are not much of an issue for US-based passengers, mixing vaccines has been standard practice in many other countries.
Many guests from countries such as Canada and Germany who have received mixed mRNA vaccines can now travel to the United States and take a cruise. The mixed vaccine issue has been an issue for the cruise lines, allowing guests to embark in most countries except the United States.
Nearly four million Canadians, or 10% of the vaccinated population, have received mixed vaccines. Reason enough for the cruise industry to lobby with the CDC to include these people in the fully vaccinated bracket. Something the CDC now has done.
The CDC said earlier this month, “individuals who have any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series are considered fully vaccinated.”
Celebrity Cruises announced that the CDC recognizes mixed vaccines of any WHO-approved vaccines for all sailings, including the US and other departures worldwide. These are vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sinopharm.
The United States was one of the few countries in the world that did not accept mixed vaccines; another cruise destination, Barbados, also recently changed its policy and now accepts mixed vaccines. It opens the doors to many guests from Canada, Germany, and many other countries worldwide to book a cruise once again.
“While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records,” a CDC spokeswoman said.
The new vaccine requirements for Celebrity Cruises have undergone some significant changes with the CDC’s new guidelines. The wait is now for October 26, when the FDA will be looking at lowering the vaccination age to 5 years and older, down from the current guidelines of 12 years and older.
Some essential guidelines you will need to keep in mind when booking a cruise onboard a Celebrity Cruises ship:
- Johnson & Johnson vaccines: Guests who received one shot of Johson and Johnson either as first or second shot are considered fully vaccinated with the J&J vaccine.
- To be recognized as fully vaccinated, guests 12 years of age and older must complete a vaccine series with the last dose administered at least 14 days before sailing.
- While the US now accepts mixed vaccines, not every country does. Check the current entry requirements of the countries you plan to sail to. You might have to stay on board in some ports.
Booster shots also complicate things a bit. Guests who have received booster shots will be considered fully vaccinated if at least two doses are mRNA vaccines, or two are AstraZeneca, administered at least 28 days apart, with the last dose done at least 14 days before sailing.
Celebrity Cruises will be satisfied the CDC now recognizes mixed vaccines for international travel into the United States and cruise ship travel.
However, the cruise line still needs to maneuver a minefield of testing and vaccine requirements; the different policies worldwide between other countries are causing even more difficulties. It makes the traditional preparation for a cruise a little less enjoyable at the very least but does ensure that all guests can be confident they are safe onboard.