Up until April 2, all Americans were advised to avoid non-essential travel, regardless of vaccination status. However, Pediatric Epidemiologist Dr. Emily Godbout with the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU said that new data has led the CDC to ease some of its guidelines.
“They feel that if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re probably less likely to acquire COVID-19 and you’re less likely to spread it,” Godbout said. “They do feel that it is low risk for fully vaccinated people to travel within the United States.”
There are two important distinctions in this updated guidance, the first being that it applies to people who are fully vaccinated.
“You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks following your final dose,” Godbout said. “If you got a two-dose vaccine, that’s two weeks after the second dose, or a one-dose vaccine series, like Johnson & Johnson, it’s essentially two weeks after you’ve received it.”
An individual is not considered fully vaccinated until those two weeks have passed, meaning that the updated travel guidelines from the CDC would not apply. Godbout said that the new guidance also does not apply to those traveling internationally.
“I think that the concern traveling outside of the U.S. — there’s a lot of circulating variants, and so at this time, the CDC still feels if you’re able to delay international travel, that would be ideal,” Godbout said. “If you’re not able to delay that travel, still practice a lot of those good infection prevention strategies, and then they would still recommend getting a test prior to traveling and then quarantining when you come back.”
Regardless of vaccination status, Godbout said that travelers should continue to practice coronavirus mitigation strategies. Those who are not fully vaccinated should follow the travel guidelines outlined for unvaccinated individuals.
“Even if you’re fully vaccinated and you’re out in a public setting, you should still continue to practice all those good infection prevention strategies like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds,” Godbout said.