If You Got This Vaccine, You Might Not Be Allowed at Major Venues
Not every vaccine will earn you admission to concerts and shows.
Once you've finally gotten a COVID vaccine after a year of spending a lot of time inside, you're likely eager to return to the activities you enjoyed pre-pandemic. Concerts, Broadway musicals, dining indoors, and traveling abroad are just a handful of things we had to hold off on over the past 15 months. But while the majority of vaccinated people can now start entering venues that were previously closed, others might not be so lucky. A handful of major establishments are only accepting certain vaccines.
As concert venues and theaters prepare to reopen, they have begun laying out vaccine guidance for audience members. Many of these establishments are requiring guests to have gotten one of the three U.S.-approved vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. This means people who got any other COVID vaccine won't be able to enter—and that includes AstraZeneca, which is popular in Canada and the U.K., among other countries. Other vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) but not the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.
Next week, Springsteen on Broadway will be the first show to return to Broadway. The concert, housed at the St. James Theatre, will require guests to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine. To attend a performance of this show, you must be at least 14 days out from your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or at least 14 days past the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In other words, as The New York Post put it, "Fans with AstraZeneca vaccine won't get into Springsteen on Broadway."
The show's site says they are accepting only FDA-approved vaccines "at the direction of New York State." As the rest of Broadway waits in the wings until September to return, it remains to be seen if other shows will implement similar rules.
Broadway is not the only place people who got AstraZeneca and other vaccines not approved by the FDA may run into trouble. As musicians begin touring again across the country, fans can expect to see similar requirements at other venues. The Foo Fighters performed at the Canyon Club in California on June 17, and audience members were informed they would need to provide proof of full vaccination with Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
Other major venues, including Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center in New York, are also requiring an FDA-approved vaccination. The only exception at any of these venues is for attendees under the age of 16. In those cases, the audience member must provide proof of a negative COVID test.
AstraZeneca recipients should be fine in many other situations, but people who got other vaccines could find themselves turned away. Hundreds of colleges are mandating that students be fully vaccinated when returning to campus, and according to The New York Times, many of them are requiring a WHO-approved vaccine, which excludes two kinds of shots that are prominent abroad. While AstraZeneca is approved by the WHO, the Covaxin vaccine popular in India and the Sputnik V vaccine popular in Russia are not WHO-approved, which puts international students at a disadvantage.