Vaccinated Americans Can Travel, C.D.C. Says - The New York Times
Vaccinated Americans are at low risk while traveling but must still wear masks, the C.D.C. says. Fully vaccinated people can resume travel to low, at low risk to themselves. For domestic travel, fully vaccinated people do not need to get a Covid-19 test before or after travel, and do not need to self-quarantine after travel. For example, fully vaccinated. grandparents can fly to visit their healthy grandkids without getting a Covid-19 test or self-quarantining, provided they follow the other recommended prevention measures while traveling. For international travel, fully vaccinated people do not need to get a Covid-19 test before they leave the United States, unless it is required by their international destination. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested and have a negative test result before they board an international flight back into the United States. But they do not need to quarantine when they arrive here. However, fully vaccinated people who do international travel should still be tested three to five days after arrival in the United States on an international flight. Our guidance reiterates that all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, should continue to wear masks on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation while traveling.
Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus can travel “at low risk to themselves,” both within the United States and internationally, but they must continue to take precautions like wearing a mask in public to avoid possibly spreading the virus to others, federal health officials said on Friday.The new recommendations are a modest departure from previous advice. Federal health officials have been urging Americans not to travel at all, unless they absolutely must. That recommendation still applies, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters at a White House news conference on Friday.
New virus cases, hospitalizations and new deaths have declined significantly since their January peaks, but new infections have remained at a level that health officials say is too high. New deaths on average have only just dipped below 900 a day, according to a New York Times database, and hospitalization numbers have started to level off.
With the case increases in recent weeks, federal health officials are concerned about the potential impact of easing restrictions. Scientists are not yet certain whether, or how often, vaccinated people may become infected, even briefly, and transmit the virus to others. A recent C.D.C. study suggested that it may be a rare event, and the agency said on Friday that about 101.8 million people — nearly one-third of the total U.S. population — had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.Until that question is resolved, many public health officials feel it is unwise to tell vaccinated Americans simply to do as they please. Yet at the same time, Dr. Walensky said on Friday, the agency wished to acknowledge a growing body of evidence suggesting that the risk to vaccinated travelers themselves is comparatively low. On the one hand, we are telling you we are worried about rising cases, to wear a mask, and to avoid travel,” Dr. Walensky said. “Yet on the other hand we are saying that if you are vaccinated, evolving data suggests that traveling is likely lower risk.” Travel has been increasing nationwide as the weather warms and Americans grow fatigued with pandemic restrictions. Last Sunday, for example, was the busiest day at domestic airports since the pandemic began. Several states have lifted restrictions and mask mandates, beckoning tourists despite rising caseloads in some regions.
If an individual is fully vaccinated, the C.D.C. says the person can travel freely within the United States and that the person does not need to get tested, or self-quarantine, before or after traveling. But some states and local governments may choose to keep travel restrictions in place, including testing, quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Earlier this week, Dr. Walensky warned that the increases left her with a recurring sense of “impending doom.” Some scientists predicted weeks ago that the number of infections could curve upward again in late March, at least in part because of the rise of virus variants across the country.
President Biden, who previously urged states to maintain or reimpose mask mandates, pleaded with Americans on Friday to continue to follow guidelines from health experts and get vaccinated as soon as they can. Most states have accelerated their timelines for opening vaccinations to all adults, as the pace of vaccinations has increased. As of Friday, an average of nearly three million shots a day were being administered, according to data reported by the C.D.C.People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the second dose of the two-dose regimen from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.Fully vaccinated Americans who are traveling domestically do not need to be tested and do not need to follow quarantine procedures at the destination or on return home, the C.D.C. now advises.
Vaccinated Americans do not need to get a coronavirus test before international travel, unless required to do so by the authorities at the destination. Some destinations also may require that vaccinated travelers quarantine after arrival. Vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine after returning unless required to do so by local officials, the C.D.C. said.
But the C.D.C. says vaccinated Americans traveling internationally are required to have a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight back to the United States, and they should get tested again three to five days after their return home.The recommendation is predicated on the idea that vaccinated people may still become infected with the virus. The C.D.C. also cited a lack of vaccine coverage in other countries, and concern about the potential introduction and spread of new variants of the virus that are more prevalent overseas.