Celebrity Cruises has put its vaccine mandate for children on hold, just days after announcing that all passengers older than five would require vaccination in order to sail.
Celebrity Cruises had previously announced that all children aged 5-11 years old would need to be fully vaccinated prior to their cruise, but has now indicated that the protocol has been postponed.
The vaccine requirement for children was meant to take effect from February 1st, and would have made Celebrity Cruises the third cruise line to implement such a policy after Disney and Norwegian Cruise Line.
In a letter to travel agents, however, Celebrity Cruises has indicated that “the below protocol has been postponed until further notice, while we continue to monitor global situations and lead our industry forward safely.”
No reason was given for the postponement of the policy, but Cruise Hive have speculated that it may be due to parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises seeking to implement a corporate-level protocol that covers both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity.
Cruise Hive noted that this week Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International, said the cruise line is evaluating a vaccine mandate for children aged fiveand older.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in late October that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is acceptable for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11.
However, only Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line have made vaccines mandatory for children younger than 11, while most major cruise lines require full vaccination for passengers older than 12 or 18.
Royal Caribbean International requires passengers over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated, while Carnival Corporation has indicated that such decisions will be made by each of its cruise lines individually.
Deciding on vaccine mandates for children is a risky move for cruise lines, especially in the North American market where the safety, viability, and necessity of vaccination against COVID-19 has become highly politicised.
Recent polling shows many parents are hesitant or resistant to vaccinating their child. At least 30% of US parents have indicated they will not vaccinate their child younger than 12 in several polls conducted in October.