The CDC announced its much-anticipated updates to travel guidelines for fully vaccinated people, on Friday. The new regulations have basically cut back on some quarantine recommendations and tests.
It is important to note that the agency assigns the status of “fully vaccinated” two weeks after someone has received their final dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Anyone who hasn’t yet been vaccinated is strongly advised to not travel.
CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated on Friday that people who have received complete vaccination can travel but at some risk to themselves. It is, however, still preferable to avoid travel during these times since Covid-19 numbers are surging again.
The agency said that those vaccinated and traveling within the US, no longer need to get tested for the virus or stay in quarantine upon returning. However,all Covid-19 preventive measures must still be taken including wearing a mask over the mouth and the nose.
For traveling internationally, those fully vaccinated need not get tested for Covid-19 before travel, unless it is considered necessary by their destination. They also need not self-quarantine after arriving back in the US. They are, however, required to have a negative Covid-19 test before traveling back. They must then follow up with another test three to five days after returning.
Below are the CDC’s guidelines for travelers who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:
Those yet unvaccinated are required to test Covid-negative one to three days prior to travel as well as three to five days after travel. Upon arrival, they must self-quarantine for a week. In case they haven’t been tested post-travel, they must extend their quarantine up to ten days.
Regardless of vaccination status, the CDC urged all Americans to wear a mask and take all other recommended coronavirus precautions while traveling, including maintaining social distances and washing hands frequently.
Despite announcing travel updates at Friday’s White House briefing, Walensky expressed serious concerns about the pandemic and the US’s quick-climbing case numbers. And firmly advised Americans against unnecessary travel. She said,
"We haven'tchanged our guidance for nonessential travel at all. We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated people.”
Since only an estimated 20% of the adult US population has been fully vaccinated so far, these updates are really just meant for those fully vaccinated. With regard to this, Walensky added,
"I still continue to worry that with 80% of the population unvaccinated that we still have a lot of work to do to control this pandemic."
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