The Royal Caribbean Group is changing its rules allowing some mixed COVID-19 vaccination regimens after receiving updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Canadian travel advisors were notified on Friday (Sept. 17) by subsidiary Celebrity Cruises that the CDC will now recognize a mixed combination of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer/Moderna) as fully vaccinated for U.S. sailings.
If a guest has already received two mRNA vaccines in mixed series at a minimum interval of 28 days, the CDC will consider that individual to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the new policy states.
Those who have received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine before or after another COVID-19 vaccine should be considered to have received a valid, single-dose Janssen vaccination (not a mixed vaccination series) and are, therefore, considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Guests 12 years of age and older must complete a vaccine series with the last dose administered at least 14 days prior to sailing in order to be considered fully vaccinated.
Celebrity noted that some ports of call may not accept mixed vaccines and, therefore, could prevent guests with mixed vaccines from going ashore.
PAX has reached out to the Royal Caribbean Group for more details on the update and how it will apply to all of its brands.
The update will come as big news to Canadian travel advisors who have ready-to-sail clients who mixed their coronavirus vaccinations after being encouraged by the Canadian government to do so.
Travel advisor Maizy Alexander of The Travel Agent Next Door called the update “great progress.”
“Now if we can get the other mixed vaccine combinations to be allowed by the CDC, I would be over the moon,” Alexander told PAX in a statement Friday night.
Alexander said she has several groups that she cannot accompany because she is vaccinated with a combination of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines.
(Currently, only Pfizer/Moderna combos are recognized for U.S. sailings).
“The other way to fix this problem is allow travellers with this combination a third vaccine so they can travel,” Alexander suggested.
The rules around mixed vaccinations are different for non-U.S. ports, however.
For instance: guests sailing on Celebrity Silhouette from Southampton, England, Celebrity Apex sailing from Athens, Greece or Celebrity Flora, Xploration and Xpedition in the Galapagos, may have mixed doses of:
- AstraZeneca (the AstraZeneca dose being administered first, followed within 8-12 weeks by either a Pfizer or Moderna dose).
- Or one dose of Pfizer or Moderna followed at least four weeks later by a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
This is a developing story.