It’s the news travelers have been waiting for—the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday issued new guidance stating that those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can travel.
“Fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel,” the agency stated in an April 2 update to its recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
Those who have received their COVID-19 vaccines also no longer need to get tested before leaving the United States, unless it’s required by the destination, and they don’t need to quarantine after arriving back in the United States, the CDC stated.
Fully vaccinated travelers “are less likely to get and spread” COVID-19, the CDC stated. And they “can now travel at low risk to themselves.”
However, vaccinated travelers still need to get tested prior to arriving in the United States. Those flying into the country from abroad who are age two and older, including returning U.S. citizens and permanent residents, must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 prior to boarding their flight—vaccinated or not—per a CDC order that went into effect on January 26.
The updated CDC recommendations apply to those who have received their full dosage of COVID-19 vaccine, which is two doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and one dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine—the three vaccines that have been granted emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of COVID-19.
A research report released on March 29 by the CDC indicates that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are highly effective at preventing infections under real-world conditions. The data indicates that a single dose of either vaccine prevented 80 percent of infections, and two doses prevented 90 percent of infections. The study also found that the vaccines resulted in a high unlikelihood of asymptomatic infection—a common source of transmission.
The CDC recommends that those who are vaccinated and travel domestically don’t get tested for COVID-19 unless required by local authorities, and fully vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine following domestic travel unless required by the destination. Hawaii, for instance, requires travelers to quarantine for 10 days unless they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
The agency still advises international arrivals into the United States to get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after travel, in addition to the required pretravel testing, regardless of vaccination status. But quarantine upon arrival in the United States is no longer recommended for those who are vaccinated.
In accordance with a CDC order that went into effect on February 2, all travelers, including those who are vaccinated, are required to wear masks while in all transportation hubs and on public modes of transportation, including airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, rideshares, airports, seaports, and train, bus, and subway stations.