Disney Cruises now require Covid-19 vaccine for children 5 and older

Disney Cruise Line expanded its COVID-19 vaccination requirement on Wednesday for children ages 5 to 11 on cruises beginning in January. This is one of the first major cases of mandatory vaccination being extended to children now that vaccines are also licensed for them in the United States.


Disney Cruises already requires all vaccine-eligible guests to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 – which for now means those aged 12 and over – and said on its website that the requirement will extend to guests aged five and over. more for travel from January 13th.


Currently, guardians must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test on children between 24 hours and three days prior to sailing in order for them to embark. All guests, including those vaccinated, must also take a Covid-19 test prior to departure and the day before disembarkation. Most major cruise lines now have vaccination requirements – although Carnival Cruises allows some exemptions – but major cruise competitors such as Royal Caribbean have yet to expand these policies to children.


Norwegian Cruise Line prohibits anyone who is unvaccinated from sailing on its cruises, which until now means children cannot sail, and Celebrity Cruises says all eligible guests must be vaccinated, but until now it specifies on its website that this includes Only people aged 12 and over.



Disney does not have any vaccination requirements in place for visitors to its theme parks, although all Disney employees in the United States must be vaccinated.


What we don’t know


How long will the need for the Disney vaccine last.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in October that it intends to lift its mandatory safety requirements for cruise ships effective Jan. 15, which will leave any safety measures up to each cruise line to decide. Disney also has other safety protocols in place on its cruises, such as mandatory mask wearing inside ships and reduced capacity.


CFO Christine McCarthy said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call this month that the cruise line will have social distancing measures in place through the first half of 2022 “at least”, however, she suggested the measures could be relaxed. after that.


What to observe


Whether vaccine prescriptions for children will be more widespread.


Disney’s vaccination mandate comes after San Francisco said it plans to extend its proof of vaccination requirement to indoor public places for children, but other cities with similar vaccination requirements, such as New York, have so far maintained their requirements for children from age 12.


Vaccine prescriptions for schools could also become more common, particularly if the vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but many schools have so far not required vaccines for younger children.


Critical point


Any childhood vaccine requirement may be unpopular with many parents, as a recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey conducted in October found that 53% of parents of children ages five to 11 are “concerned that their children might be vaccinated against Covid-19, even if they don’t want to.” Most parents of children aged 5-11 remain hesitant to vaccinate their children despite evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, with the KFF survey finding that 30% will “definitely not” vaccinate their children, 5 % will only do so if necessary and 33% plan to “wait and see”.




Cruises have been a significant source of concern for transmission of Covid-19 since the early days of the pandemic, when many ships became the main vectors of disease infection and widespread outbreaks resulted. As a result, cruises were closed for most of the pandemic, before resuming in the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere), with strict safety measures in place.


Vaccine requirements for cruises have been controversial despite the high potential for transmission of Covid-19. Florida – one of the main cruise hubs in the United States – has banned cruise ships from requiring proof of vaccination. A federal judge blocked the ban in August, however.


The ruling said Norwegian Cruise Line could require vaccinations on its cruises out of Florida. A spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis previously told Forbes that the state would not enforce the proof-of-vaccination ban against other cruise lines until an appeals court rules on the case.