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Pan American Health Organization says U.S. border shouldn't stop visitors based on vaccine type

The United States is set to lift travel restrictions at the border next month for fully vaccinated people. But that may not apply to Mexicans who received certain types of shots. But an international public health agency is warning that could be discrimination.

Millions of Mexicans who received Sputnik and CanSino vaccineswill likely be unable to cross the border into the U.S. when restrictions on non-essential travel are lifted on Nov. 8. That’s because those vaccines have not yet received authorization by the World Health Organization.

But the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says countries should grant entry to travelers regardless of which shot they received.

"The World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization have always said vaccines should not be used as a barrier," Assistant Director Jarbas Barbosa said during a press conference Wednesday. "That can, without a doubt, create discrimination."

He said there shouldn't be a policy differentiating between COVID-19 vaccines for travel, but rather that countries like the U.S. and Mexico to reach agreements that will facilitate travel for tourism and business hampered by the pandemic.

Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.