The United States Embassy in Delhi said on October 31 that the appointment wait time for some non-immigrant visa categories will get significantly longer due to COVID-19-related interruptions.
The US Embassy further said that starting November 8, nearly three million visa holders from India, who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, will be able to travel to the United States under the new international air travel policy.
It added: “Facilitating legitimate travel to support our strong and growing bilateral ties is our top priority. As we build back from COVID-19-related interruptions, we expect significant appointment wait times for some nonimmigrant visa categories at our Embassy and Consulates.”
Embassy officials thanked people for being patient while they worked to increase their capacity and maintain the safety of the applicants and staff as well.
Describing vaccination requirements to be allowed into the United States, the mission said that from November 8, all foreign nationals travelling by air must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and be able to furnish proof of vaccination before boarding the plane (with a few exceptions).
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has determined that for the purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include those FDA approved or authorized, as well as vaccines with an emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization (WHO),” it said.
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(With PTI inputs)