International travelers, including those from Ireland, will no longer have to provide proof of a COVID vaccine to enter the US, the White House announced on Monday, May 1.

The US "will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends," the White House said on Monday.

The statement added: "The HHS and DHS announced today that they will start the process to end their vaccination requirements for Head Start educators, CMS-certified healthcare facilities, and certain noncitizens at the land border."

Further details related to ending these requirements will be provided "in the coming days," the White House said.

The statement noted that vaccination requirements were put in place for certain international travelers "to slow the spread of new variants entering the country and to allow our healthcare system time to effectively manage access to care if faced with an increase in cases and hospitalizations."

The US and Ireland's journey through COVID requirements for travelers

In March 2020, the US announced a travel ban for many international travelers, including those from Ireland, in light of the pandemic. The US travel ban was lifted on November 8, 2021, though a blanket requirement for all non-citizens, including travelers from Ireland, to be fully vaccinated to enter the US came into effect.

In June 2022, the US scrapped its requirement to show proof of a negative COVID test taken prior to travel.

In terms of dropping COVID requirements for travelers, the US has been behind Ireland, which lifted its requirement for pre-departure testing for entry as of January 6, 2022, and lifted any remaining requirements for entry in March 2022.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 69.4% of the US population has completed a primary series of the COVID vaccine. According to the Health Service Executive, 79.65% of Ireland's population aged six months and over is fully vaccinated.