TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday (Aug. 17) countered claims that people who receive Taiwan's domestically developed vaccine will be barred from entering other countries or must enter quarantine despite vaccination.
As Taiwan prepares to deliver the first wave of inoculations of the domestic COVID-19 vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (高端疫苗, MVC) on Monday (Aug. 23), rumors are rife that because the vaccine is not internationally recognized, Taiwanese who receive it will still be subject to travel bans and quarantines overseas, unlike recipients of foreign brands.
In a press release issued on Tuesday (Aug. 17), MOFA stated that based on the information it has gathered on entry requirements by nations across the world, these concerns are largely unfounded.
According to statistics gathered on Aug. 17 regarding the 33 countries most-visited by Taiwanese, the entry restrictions can be divided into three categories:
1. Completely open
Countries in this category have a "completely open" policy for Taiwanese citizens arriving in their country. In these countries, Taiwanese do not need to present documents related to COVID-19 and are exempt from quarantine. These include the following:
Belgium, Spain, Finland, Estonia, and Mexico.
2. Conditional exemption from quarantine
Countries in this segment will exempt visitors from quarantine if they can provide a COVID test report, COVID vaccination certificate, or COVID recovery report. There are 13 countries that offer such conditional exemptions from quarantine:
Germany, France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, the U.K., the U.S., Brazil, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Singapore.
3. Mandatory quarantine
Countries in this category require all arrivals to present a negative test report or recovery report, and vaccination certificate, while still undergoing quarantine. The four countries that have such strict requirements include:
Italy, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Total ban on travelers
In addition, 11 countries continue to ban all foreign travelers, with the exception of diplomats, special exemptions, and emergency humanitarian considerations. These counties include:
Canada, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Israel, and Argentina.
According to the ministry, COVID vaccine certificates are not the sole determinant of entry into any of these countries, regardless of whether they recognize Taiwan's vaccines or not. For this reason, MOFA concluded that being inoculated with Taiwan's locally made vaccines, as opposed to other vaccines, is not a disadvantage for those wishing to travel abroad.
MOFA stated that the rumor that "you can't go abroad when inoculated with a domestic vaccine" has been proven to be "inconsistent with the facts." Nevertheless, the ministry advises those who are preparing to travel abroad to review the latest entry requirements, and it pledged to continue to update the public on the newest information regarding travel restrictions.
However, at least one country that has been found to be the exception to MOFA's statement is Canada, which from Sept. 7 (intended starting date), will offer an exemption to all foreign travelers from quarantine and a Day-8 testing requirement if they have been fully vaccinated with one of the following four vaccines only: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
Canada does not recognize any of the Indian, Russian, Chinese, or Taiwanese vaccines, but it indicated that it will expand its list of accepted vaccines in the future.
In the U.S., the White House is currently mulling a requirement that foreign visitors present a vaccination certificate. However, it has yet to state when this policy will go into effect and which vaccine brands it will accept.