It has been a tough year for everyone due to the COVID-19 pandemic and especially for those whose jobs have been directly affected by the pandemic like ours as travel agents.
After a year that feels like every day carried another horrible headline in the news as we approach the end of the year, it seems like we may be beginning to see the light at the end of this very long and dark tunnel with COVID-19 vaccine candidates starting to present their data from trials that have been underway around the world through the spring, summer and fall providing a sense of hope once again to the world.
What Is the Current Status of Vaccine Candidates?
The first exciting news came on November 9th, when their vaccine trial results showed it was 90% effective with no adverse side effects. Ten days later, Pfizer provided more data, and it showed the vaccine was an even better 95% effective. The company plans to produce 1.3 Billion doses by the end of 2021 and is currently seeking emergency use authorization in the United States.
Not long after Pfizer’s exciting news on November 16th, Moderna announced their results from trials revealing their vaccine was around 94.5% effective. Not only did it show that it was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the patients who received the vaccine and still became infected with the COVID-19 virus, but none also developed severe disease, and all cases were asymptomatic – mild. Moderna has made deals with a variety of countries to start supplying doses of their vaccine in early 2021, including 100 million doses to the United States.
In between the exciting news from United States vaccine candidates, Russia also announced that the phase three data from their vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute dubbed “sputnik v” has shown a 92% efficacy rate in phase 3 trials.
There are more vaccines currently in phase 3 trials with results expected soon, including from Johnson and Johnson and the University of Oxford.
China also has five vaccine candidates in phase three trials, most of which have been granted early use authorization in China with 100,000’s of people already being inoculated. Final results from these trials are also expected soon, with China signing many deals around the world to provide a vaccine once production can ramp up.
So, What Next?
There are select destinations that are already open for tourism, and more are opening up every day. You can track these using our COVID-19 updates page.
With the rollout of safe and effective vaccines, we can only hope that more and more countries will open their borders back up to travellers so we can all get back to what we love doing most, which is travel.
Can I Start to Book Travel?
For countries that are already open to travel, you can book tours through YPT right now. For these select destinations, we will help you fully understand COVID-19 related entry procedures and requirements, so you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
We have various health and safety measures in place for our select group tours and independent tours that are running, such as smaller than usual group sizes and adherence to all health advice from local officials in whichever destination you are travelling to.
For destinations that are not currently open to travel, the news of safe and effective vaccine candidates means you can start dreaming about travel once again. For any of our 2021 tours, you can secure your spot with just a 50 euro non-refundable but fully transferable tour deposit in the event the tour does not take place.
Will Things Be Different?
Of course, Coronavirus has changed the world and will have a lasting impact on travel.
Things will look a bit different at first with smaller group sizes, facemasks required in certain destinations and likely proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter some countries.
One thing that will always remain unchanged is the YPT ethos of providing life-changing trips and cultural experiences to destinations your mother would rather you stay away from.
We, for one, are excited to be up and running at full speed ahead hopefully sooner rather than later and will be waiting for you.