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Palau limits travel bubble with Taiwan to already vaccinated or registered vaccine tourists

Moderna shots will no longer be available in Palau from Aug. 19

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Travelers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport checking in for a flight to Palau on Aug. 14. 

Travelers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport checking in for a flight to Palau on Aug. 14.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Only travelers already vaccinated and those registered to receive COVID-19 shots in Palau will be allowed to take part in the travel bubble with Taiwan, the Pacific island nation announced Tuesday (Aug. 17).

In addition, Moderna vaccines will no longer be available in Palau from Aug. 19, the Liberty Times reported. The travel bubble was resumed last Saturday (Aug. 14), with more than 130 Taiwanese tourists boarding a China Airlines (CAL) flight.

While both tour groups and individual travelers were welcomed under the quarantine-free program, Palau’s tourism office in Taipei announced Tuesday that people who had not been vaccinated and who had no plans to receive jabs would not be allowed to enter. The second flight in the current travel bubble program was scheduled for Wednesday (Aug. 18), reports said.

As to the shots available to travelers, from Aug. 19 visitors would only be able to choose between Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Taiwanese who had been inoculated with an AstraZeneca shot in their home country could only qualify to receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Palau.

The two countries launched their first travel bubble in April, but when Taiwan was hit by a surge in local COVID-19 infections in mid-May, the program was canceled. Only tour groups had been allowed under the original scheme, but for the new project, Palau also allowed individual travelers and vaccine tourists.