Hundreds of thousands of Russians could be directly affected. Despite frosty diplomatic relations and limited demand for international travel, roughly 300,000 Russians visited the United States in 2019, the last year for which figures are available, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
“This is a big problem for Russian travelers and for people in other countries who’ve received Sputnik V,” Judyth Twigg, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who tracks public health in Russia, said of the new U.S. rules in an email.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund that backed Sputnik V, said in a statement that not only has the vaccine “been approved in 70 countries where over 4 billion people, or over half of the world’s population, live, but its efficacy and safety have been confirmed both during clinical trials and over the course of real-world use in a number of countries.”
The new U.S. plan requires that most noncitizens seeking entry to the United States are vaccinated with shots approved for emergency use either by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. That includes vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, as well as shots developed by Chinese firms such as Sinopharm and Sinovac.