By Samuetta Hill Drew
As the saying goes “Spring has Sprung” and the weather is becoming sunny, bright, and warm with the unfortunate occasional spring storms. After an extremely bleak 2020 mainly due to the pandemic where everyone was advised to shelter in place, the onset of bright and sunny days, coupled with the administration of the new Food and Drug Administration-authorized COVID-19 vaccine shots, has a nation of people ready to travel again. This article will review some new CDC travel guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals.
U.S. News reported on March 29 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that more than 15 percent of America’s total population had been fully vaccinated. More than 143 million doses have been administered, over 93 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 52 million people have been fully vaccinated with two dose shots from Moderna and Pfizer/BioTech. Johnson & Johnson has delivered nearly five million of its one dose shot vaccine. These new numbers have been so encouraging that our President amended his initial goal for his first 100 days to 200 million vaccine doses being administered.
It is important everyone has a clear understanding what the CDC means when it says fully vaccinated people. The CDC says the term fully vaccinated means:
• two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
• two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Jassen vaccine.
If you do not meet these requirements; you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated. Note, if you have a condition or are taking medication that weakens your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated.
The CDC says that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants. We will review the CDC guidelines next week for international travel.
The CDC’s new guidelines were updated and released on April 2 regarding domestic travel for fully vaccinated people to reflect the latest evidence and science. The CDC now recommends that the fully vaccinated can travel at low risk to themselves.
The CDC states that “fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently.”
The CDC guidance issued does not change the agency’s existing guidance for people who are not fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travelers should still get tested one-three days before domestic travel and again three-five days after travel. They should stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel or 10 days if they do not get tested at the conclusion of travel. The CDC continues to discourage non-essential domestic travel by those who are not fully vaccinated.
Where the new CDC domestic travel guidelines is a glimmer of hope for those fully vaccinated people to return to some form of normalcy, we must still Keep an Eye on Safety because the pandemic remains with us.