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Photo: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration will open up U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel starting in November — but only to those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: Government officials and business leaders have decried the economic impact pandemic travel restrictions have had on border communities. They have called for the U.S. to reopen the borders given high, and rising, vaccinations rates there.

What's happening: Officials will implement land border vaccine requirements in two phases, an administration official told reporters on a Tuesday evening call.

  • Early next month, non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada who provide proof of full vaccination will be allowed into the U.S. at land ports of entry. Unvaccinated people will not be allowed into the U.S. for non-essential reasons like tourism and visiting friends and family.
  • Air travel restrictions will also be lifted in early November, as was announced last month.
  • In early January, everyone crossing U.S. land borders will be required to be fully vaccinated — whether coming for essential or non-essential reasons.

What they're saying: "This is long overdue," Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) told Axios Tuesday. She added that the delay in the U.S. decision to fully reopen the border has had devastating impacts.

  • "I'm really concerned that some of these businesses will never reopen and I think border communities, suffered disproportionately," Escobar said.
  • How the protocols are implemented will be critical, Escobar said. "I want to make sure it doesn't create bottlenecks at our ports," she added.

What to watch: Despite easing some coronavirus-related travel restrictions, the Biden administration continues to use a Trump-era policy tied to the pandemic that has allowed to quickly turn back hundreds of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers to Mexico.

  • Escobar said she believes Title 42 "should have been lifted a long time ago. I don't think Title 42 protects the health, safety and welfare of migrants or agents," she said.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
15 hours ago - Health

COVID vaccines for kids are getting closer

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Millions of kids under 12 could begin getting COVID-19 shots "within the first week or two of November," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said on ABC News' "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" over the weekend.

Why it matters: This would be a major milestone for getting approximately 28 million more kids protected as they prepare to gather with family during the holidays and spend more time indoors due to cold weather.

10 hours ago - Health

Moderna says COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in kids

Photo: Martin Galindo/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Moderna on Monday released trial results for its coronavirus vaccine for children aged 6 to 11, saying it provides a "robust" immune response after two doses.

Why it matters: Moderna said it will officially submit the results to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization in "the near term," meaning we could soon see two coronavirus vaccines available to protect approximately 28 million more kids in the U.S.

13 hours ago - Health

Study reveals disparities in hospitals' COVID funds

Hospitals that received the most federal coronavirus relief money were disproportionately academic-affiliated and had higher pre-pandemic assets, according to a new study published in JAMA Health Forum.

Yes, but: Those hospitals were also more likely to have had higher numbers of COVID cases.