- The CDC released guidance on Monday outlining what vaccinated individuals can and cannot do.
- Travel is still warned against as it “increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19.”
- Those still traveling should wait until two weeks following the second dose, get tested before and after travel, and follow local guidelines.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled the long-awaited list of activities that vaccinated individuals can now safely do as the country inches closer to herd immunity.
But those planning a post-vaccination vacation might still want to hold off as the public health agency has not revised its stance on non-essential travel, even after receiving the full course of a vaccine.
“Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19,” the agency advises. “CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time.”
If travel is unavoidable or individuals choose to travel against public health recommendations, the CDC does have some advice on how to do it safely.
“If you are traveling, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip,” the CDC says. “Make sure you have the results of your negative test before you travel.”
Traveling while positive can put countless individuals at risk if they are exposed. Healthcare may also be difficult to find while traveling, especially if traveling internationally.
Those planning to travel after receiving the vaccine should also wait at least two weeks after receiving the final dose to ensure the body has had time to build protections against COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Even vaccinated travelers should still maintain social distancing, wear a face covering, and plan ahead to avoid potential exposure. The CDC recommends travelers be mindful about their travel plans to avoid exposure as even taking public transportation while traveling can increase the chances of contracting COVID-19.
Vaccinated individuals are also not exempt from the CDC’s new testing requirement for US-bound international flights.
All international arrivals, even US citizens, are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within three calendar days of departure of the first flight of a US-bound itinerary. If a traveler is flying from Tel Aviv, Israel to New York via London, UK, for example, the test would need to be taken no more than three calendar days before the Tel Aviv to London flight.
Individuals that had recently recovered COVID-19, however, can show proof of a positive test from the prior three months and a letter from a “healthcare provider or a public health official” approving travel.
The CDC also recommends getting tested between three to five days after travel and quarantining regardless of the result. Travelers should quarantine for seven days following travel if they get tested and for 10 days if they do not get tested.
Individual states across the country are beginning to relax travel restrictions and giving travelers more options to avoid quarantine as vaccinations increase.
New York is allowing vaccinated domestic travelers to skip the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine even if they don’t arrive with a recent negative COVID-19 test.
Non-vaccinated arrivals or those that hadn’t recently contracted COVID-19 can test-out of quarantine only if they have a negative result from a test taken within three days of departure and receive a second negative test at least four days into their isolation.
Connecticut is also scaling back its travel guidelines, changing its requirements to mere recommendations for inbound visitors and residents. The state formerly required a 10-day quarantine for travelers arriving from most US states and all foreign countries but did allow test-out options.
Vaccination does not fully protect from contracting COVID-19 and those that experience symptoms after travel should still take precautions including self-quarantine and regular testing, the CDC says.
Air travel is on the rise compared to 2020 with more than one million passengers departing from US airports regularly since late-February, according to Transportation Security Administration data. Airlines are accelerated vaccine rollout hoping the will help salvage the summer season, a normally busy season for travel.
But with President Joe Biden announcing that access to vaccines will be greatly expanded in the upcoming months, some are viewing that as a sign to travel again.
Recent travel data from Hopper reveals that domestic flight searches increased by 58% from January 1 to March 1. Searches for summer flights also increased by almost 50% in the last two weeks of February, indicating the public’s desire to travel.
Despite the CDC’s warnings, summer 2021 may be the summer of travel.