Travel I’m vaccinated — can I travel now?
What Fully Vaccinated Travelers Need to Know Before Planning a Trip
What to consider, from who you're traveling with to where you go.And while there is good reason to celebrate inoculation, health officials have warned that a vaccination is not a free pass to travel as we used to. This is largely dictated by the undetermined degree to which vaccinated people can transmit coronavirus; until everyone is inoculated against COVID-19 or it is proven that vaccination prevents transmission, vaccinated people will need to continue masking and social distancing to protect those who are unvaccinated.
Withvaccinations on the rise, people are thinking about traveling more than ever, whether they’re planning to visit family they haven’t seen since the before-times or making up for lost trips with friends. While there’s still a lot to consider — from pandemic safety and to when you’ll — the question of whether or not you can travel again after you’re fully vaccinated keeps coming up. Here’s a look at everything we know so far, bearing in mind this is an ongoing situation. (Sandi Rutar / Getty Images)
Is it safe to travel after I’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine?
It’s actually pretty complicated. For starters,to “delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” If you must travel, the CDC says to wait at least two weeks beyond the date of your last vaccination before doing so, or if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, to get tested one to three days before your trip, wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer, wear a mask when you’re in public, and practice social distancing.
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Even so, the scientific community seems optimistic now that the production of the double-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“The real risk with COVID-19 is serious illness and the vaccines are highly effective at reducing serious illness with the virus,” said, an Epidemiology Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We are very encouraged that we now have three vaccines and that the J & J [Johnson & Johnson] product is single-dose.”
That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet., Director of Travel Medicine at NYU Langone Health, says that while vaccines make travel safer in general, the risk of disease is not completely removed even if you are vaccinated.
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“The risk to the traveler would depend on how much disease there is at the destination area, what they will be doing — particularly indoor activities in poorly ventilated areas — the consequences of infection (higher risk with older travelers and those with comorbidities), and the availability of healthcare at the destination if the traveler got COVID-19 while there,” said Weisenberg. “Travelers should consider seeing a travel medicine specialist to review strategies to reduce risk during travel, particularly to resource-poor destinations.”
Even more concerning, while the risk of virus transmission post-vaccination remains unknown, visitors could also be putting those who haven’t yet been vaccinated in harm’s way by traveling.
“A traveler could spread the virus to the destination area, or spread it back to their home area after return,” said Weisenberg. “This risk will depend on how much potential exposure they have just before travel and during travel.”
Your post-vaccination travel questions, answered
Can Americans travel right now? Kind of. Should Americans travel right now? That’s more complicated.Can you travel if you have been vaccinated? Yes, but with some caveats. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given a somewhat mixed message: While the agency recently stated that travel is “lower risk” for those who are vaccinated, officials noted that it’s certainly not entirely safe. They stress that even with a full course of inoculation, all American travelers should continue to adhere to social distancing, masking, and hand-washing guidelines whether their trips are domestic or international.
Weisenberg still says he would feel comfortable traveling after being fully vaccinated, as long as he was going somewhere without a large outbreak. “Travel medicine involves weighing risks and rewards, whether you are talking about insect-borne infections, hiking in Nepal, or COVID-19,” he said.
CDC COVID-19 guidelines for fully-vaccinated people
On March 8, thefor those who’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are the three big updates for those who have been vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an .
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
However, the CDC still advises taking precautions for those who are fully vaccinated, like avoiding medium or large-sized gatherings and wearing a mask in public. In regards to travel, the CDC continues to recommend delaying domestic international travel. But if you do have to travel, they say you’ll still need to follow its travel.
These Countries Are Open to Fully Vaccinated Travelers
But there's still a lot to consider before booking that trip.For one, vaccine distribution continues to be uneven, with poorer countries receiving and administering fewer COVID-19 vaccines than wealthier countries. And though fully vaccinated travelers are largely protected from the virus themselves, it’s still not clear the extent to which they can spread the virus to others.
How could other coronavirus variants impact me when traveling?
Ascontinue to emerge, most recently originating in Brazil, South Africa, and the U.K., more studies are being conducted to judge the effectiveness of available vaccines against them.
“Prior infection may not protect as well against some variants. It’s possible that vaccine efficacy could be affected,” said Weisenberg, adding that travelers could also inadvertently be responsible for transferring variants between regions or bringing a new strain back home with them.
Will I spread COVID-19 if I have the vaccine?
Of course, the real question is whether or not it’s safe for others if you’re traveling after you’re vaccinated. Unfortunately, it’s not clear yet.
I’m vaccinated, should I still wear a mask when traveling?
During a recentevent, , Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had some sobering words for would-be travelers expecting a maskless future.
“Getting vaccinated does not say you have a free pass to travel, nor does it say you have a free pass to put aside all of the public health measures we talk about all the time,” said Fauci.
After explaining how immunity is at its strongest 10–14 days following the last vaccine dose, Fauci said masks should still be worn by vaccinated individuals until more studies can be conducted regarding transmission.
Should You Travel With Unvaccinated Kids?
COVID-19 vaccines for younger children are on the way. Until then, vaccinated adults are left trying to figure out where and how to safely travel with the younger members of the family.While that may come as welcome news for families with younger kids still waiting for their chance to be better protected during the pandemic, it also presents a bit of a dilemma—should families with vaccinated adults go ahead and travel with the unvaccinated younger members of the family or wait it out?
“We are waiting for better data to show how vaccination will affect transmission, but early data would suggest reduced risk of infecting others, but there would still be some risk. The question will be how much that risk goes down,” said Weisenberg in agreement. “Until we have better information on transmission, travelers should wear masks and practice social distancing when around others (particularly in indoor settings).”You should still wear a mask when traveling, even if you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine. (Image by Getty Images)
What precautions should we take if traveling with or around unvaccinated people?
Because not everyone is vaccinated at this point, it’s best to keep rocking your favorite mask, maintaining your distance and thoroughly washing your hands until we know more, regardless of your vaccination status.
“Yes, it is relatively safer to travel but [it’s] important to maintain the basics of prevention, including mask-wearing, since we don’t yet know if the vaccines reduce onward transmission if a vaccinated person does get COVID-19,” said Beyrer. “The vaccines prevent serious illness but not infection.”
Do I have to quarantine if I have the vaccine?
According to the, fully vaccinated people who have had their last dose within the last three months and aren’t experiencing any symptoms don’t have to quarantine. It might actually depend more on where you’re going since some states like and most international destinations have additional protocols in place, which might mean current rules about testing and quarantine remain in effect indefinitely.
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Will you need to get tested if you’ve received the vaccine?
Thestate that if you’ve had the vaccine but have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. Although the CDC did state that “if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.”
According to Weisenberg, it’s best to follow existing testing protocols unless the CDC and state public health departments say otherwise. Beyrer agrees.
“They shouldn’t, but many states in the U.S. and other countries are still requiring this,” said Beyrer. “The guidelines were put forward before vaccine access and are now dated.”
those entering the U.S. to present negative COVID-19 test results or documentation of recovery “regardless of vaccination or antibody status,” so keep that in mind if you’re heading abroad anytime soon.
Will I need to provide proof of vaccination?
It certainly wouldn’t hurt to keep your vaccination card handy going forward, especially if you’re hoping to visit Australia — Qantasits new requirement for international passengers to show proof of vaccination — or any other countries thinking along those lines.
“I would expect travelers to have to carry documentation of vaccination, particularly if there is stronger evidence that vaccines reduce transmission of old and now variants,” said Weisenberg.
Several countries currently require you to show proof of a yellow fever vaccination to enter, so if you think of it that way, it’s not unreasonable to expect something similar for COVID-19.You may want to bring proof of being vaccinated if you’re traveling internationally. (Image by Education Images / Getty Images)
Do I need a vaccine passport to travel?
While a vaccine passport would help organize travelers’ vaccination records digitally —is a similar idea — there are some arguments being made against them. According to a recent , the World Health Organization says vaccine passports highlight inequities in vaccination availability worldwide, with vaccines being prioritized for wealthy Westerners over older and poorer residents throughout the Global South. The article also points out that more studies need to be done to determine the role transmission plays between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated before such passports can really be useful for travel.
The answer to whether or not it’s safe to travel once you’re vaccinated is a complicated one, but ultimately science will provide clarity with more time and research. Until then, follow theand stay home if you can, or at least continue to wear your mask over your mouth and nose in public, wash your hands thoroughly and stick to socially distanced vacation venues if you must travel during a pandemic.
For more travel tips during the age of COVID-19, make sure to.
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