The national public health agency of the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has updated its travel guidance for fully vaccinated people to reflect the latest evidence and science in relation to Covid-19. The CDC cites recent studies evaluating the real-world effects of vaccination, which have led it to recommend that fully vaccinated people face only a low risk to themselves when travelling. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final recommended dose of vaccine.
The agency currently discourages people who are not fully vaccinated from taking non-essential domestic travel .
The CDC goes further, stating that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically within the USA and that they do not need Covid-19 testing or to self-quarantine after their journey as long as they continue to take Covid-19 precautions while traveling, such as wearing a face covering, avoiding crowds, social distancing, and washing hands frequently.
“With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel,” said CDC’s director, Dr Rochelle Walensky. “We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives. Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.”
The CDC does temper the confidence with a little further caution for international travel though, with the potential introduction and spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants in mind, as well as differences in disease burden and vaccines, and differing rates of vaccine coverage around the world.
The CDC has prepared the following guidance related to international travel:
• Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without getting a Covid-19 test before travel unless it is required by the international destination
• Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the USA, unless required by a state or local jurisdiction
• Fully vaccinated people must still have a negative Covid-19 test result before they board a flight to the USA, and take a Covid-19 test three to five days after returning from international travel
• Fully vaccinated people should continue to take Covid-19 precautions while traveling internationally.
The guidance does not change the agency’s existing guidance for people who are not fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travellers should still get tested 1-3 days before domestic travel, and again 3-5 days after travel. They should self-quarantine for seven days after travel, or 10 days if they don’t get tested at the conclusion of travel.