November 11. As soon as Covid-19 vaccines became available for her age group in Guatemala, Ilse Samoyoa lined up with hundreds of other people for nine hours to get her shot.
Samoyoa, 56, never imagined that the Sputnik vaccine she got in June would eventually bar her from traveling to the U.S.
For three decades, Samoyoa, an administrator for a transportation company, has traveled back and forth between Guatemala and the U.S. for vacation and to visit family in Miami and Los Angeles. She was last here in November 2020.
“I am sad and bothered by this decision,” said Samoyoa, who had to cancel a trip she had booked for next Monday. “It was the first vaccine to arrive in Guatemala, and the government encouraged us to take it.”
For many in Europe, where there had been a travel ban since early in the pandemic, the loosening of U.S. travel restrictions for those who have been vaccinated with shots approved by the World Health Organization has come with elation — as seen in recent stories and images of joyful reunions. The ban on travel from 33 countries covered European Union members, China, Iran and India.
Only six vaccines have been approved by the WHO, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: those from Pfizer, Moderna, Jansen, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Sinopharm. The unapproved ones are Russia’s Sputnik V, China’s CanSico and Cuba’s Abdala, Soberana 02 and Soberana Plus. In many countries, people can’t choose the vaccine they get and depend on what the government distributes.
Source: NBC News