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'Springsteen on Broadway' Does About Face on AstraZeneca Vaccine

Bruce Springsteen
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation

Bruce Springsteen performs on stage at The New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation present the 12th Annual Stand Up For Heroes event at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 5, 2018 in New York City.

TORONTO — Bruce Springsteen fans across Canada who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine are no longer sweating it out on whether they'll be allowed into his Broadway show this summer. Over the weekend, the venue announced that anyone fully vaccinated with a World Health Organization-approved vaccine would be permitted to attend. Previously, only vaccines approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration were acceptable.

As of June 12, 1.73 million doses of AstraZeneca had been administered in Canada, according to government data, with more recent figures at 2.29M.

On Sunday, Jujamcyn Theaters tweeted, "Following amended New York State guidelines, we are now permitted to welcome guests who are fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO approved vaccine to Springsteen On Broadway."

The WHO oversees international public health standards and recommendations for the United Nations. When The Boss announced his new run of dates this summer -- 31 in total between June 26 to Sept. 4 -- it specified that only people fully vaccinated with FDA-approved vaccines would be allowed to attend.

That means audience members at Springsteen's show could only receive the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, even though the federal government deemed AstraZeneca safe enough to send their supply (tens of millions of doses) to other countries, including Canada and Mexico. The U.S. had struck a $1 billion deal for 300 million doses of the vaccine, which hasn't been approved by the FDA.

The vaccine was temporarily halted or stopped altogether in some countries due to reported blood clots, particularly in younger individuals, which further studies deemed "rare." In the first three months of 2021, AstraZeneca-Oxford had delivered 68 million doses to the U.K., European Union, and other countries, and is still working on getting U.S. approval.

The announcement of the Springsteen restriction caused some panic north of the border for fans who often travel to see his shows. Some fans wanting to see the Broadway show even inquired if it was possible to get fully vaccinated a second time with Moderna or Pfizer -- or thought of canceling their second shot of AstraZeneca and rebook an FDA-approved one.

But the initial restriction also had bigger, more worrisome implications for travelers, both for business and pleasure.

For those working in the music industry, it could mean that some musicians in a touring band might not be allowed in a venue, or members of their management, label or crew might not be permitted to fly.

Fraser Hill, a former major label A&R executive who is now an A&R consultant managed out of the U.S. by Joe D'Ambrosio, was particularly vocal about the AstraZeneca restriction. He contacted his local member of parliament, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who told him the Prime Minister's Office was aware of the issue and was working on a fix.

"I was extremely concerned that the Broadway/Springsteen AZ restriction could snowball into a much larger problem if it went unchallenged," Hill told Billboard. "I could see my creative colleagues across the country who took the AZ vaccine being penalized for doing what the government and health professionals had asked them to do. The collective livelihoods of everyone on the music side was about to be crushed yet again by one more set back that many would not have been able to recover from."