Vaccinated people can travel safely according to the new CDC guidelines released on Friday, but they must still take COVID-19 safety precautions, such as travel. B. wearing a mask in public and social distancing.
The long-awaited guidelines are released as U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations surge nationwide and summer travel season approaches. Approximately 56 million people in the United States, or 16.9% of the total population, are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and 100 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“We now have several newly published studies that document the true effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. So today we are releasing an update to our guidelines for fully vaccinated people,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky at a COVID-19 briefing in white House Friday. “Fully vaccinated people can resume their journey with little risk to themselves.”
She added, “For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can fly to visit their healthy grandchildren without a COVID-19 test or self-quarantine, provided they follow the other recommended preventive measures when traveling.”
However, she said, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, “I would speak out against general travel overall.”
The health department has so far only issued sparse guidelines on which activities vaccinated people can safely resume. Safety recommendations were released last month that allow vaccinated people to meet indoors without a mask or with another unvaccinated household if they are at low risk of serious illness.
The new CDC travel guidelines state:
- Fully vaccinated people can resume their domestic travel. You don’t need to be tested before or after the flight and you don’t need to quarantine yourself after the trip.
- Fully vaccinated people should continue to take COVID-19 precautions – such as wearing a mask in public, social distancing, and hand washing – when traveling.
- Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without first having a COVID-19 test, unless required by the country they are traveling to.
- Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to self-quarantine upon returning to the United States, unless required by a state or local jurisdiction.
- Fully vaccinated individuals traveling to the United States from another country should have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights. They should also be tested for COVID-19 three to five days after their return.
Last week, data from health care workers released by the CDC showed that widespread two-dose vaccines appear to prevent 90% of COVID-19 infections. This is a very effective rate that has increased public health experts’ confidence in the shots. In particular, finding that the shots prevented asymptomatic cases, which are believed to play a large role in spreading the virus, has increased confidence in easing restrictions on people who have been vaccinated.
People are considered fully protected by the vaccines two weeks after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, or two weeks after their single vaccination with Johnson & Johnson.
According to CDC guidelines, as well as in airports and other transport hubs, masks are still required on airplanes, buses and trains.
States in the US are reporting a worrying spike in cases that Walensky has warned of a fourth surge looming. On Monday, the CDC director attributed the increase in cases to the large number of unvaccinated people in the United States, to states that wanted to reopen quickly, to the spread of communicable variants and to increased travel. Other experts are optimistic that an increase in cases will not lead to as many hospitalizations or deaths as vaccinations continue to rise, particularly among the elderly and other vulnerable populations.
“We are in a life and death race against the virus. And the war against this virus is far from over, “said Jeff Zients, the White House’s chief pandemic officer, on Friday. “Even if we vaccinate a record number of people, many more people will need to be vaccinated and we are seeing cases increase.”
He added: “We are working to get this pandemic behind us as soon as possible, but we are not there yet. So we need everyone to do their part. “