With a full year of COVID-19 quarantining behind us, more and more people are wondering when it will be safe to travel again. As the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out continues to ramp up around the country, the number of emails we are receiving asking for advice on new travel guidelines is steadily increasing.
Unfortunately, the general advice from the CDC remains relatively unchanged. Travel is still not recommended. While the vaccine is a step in the right direction, there are still some key questions that need answering before we can all resume “normalcy”. Those questions include: Is the vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants? Can the vaccinated still asymptomatically spread the virus? How long does the vaccine last and will we need boosters?
"Until we know more about those questions, everyone — even people who’ve had their vaccines — should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended," the CDC stated on its website. That means wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining appropriate distancing whenever you are out and about.
Aside from practicing basic prevention methods when traveling, it is also still mandatory for travelers to produce negative Covid-19 tests regardless of vaccination certification. Negative Covid-19 tests are currently required by many international travel destinations and negative tests are also still required for all U.S. citizens flying home from abroad. This is important to remember when choosing a travel destination as many times border rules may dictate your choices for you. You can research your travel options via the U.S. Department of State’s country pages, the CDC’s recommendations by destination, or CovidControls.co, which tracks countries by vaccination rate, entry rules, and lockdown status.
This may all feel frustrating to read, after all you most likely just jumped through hoops to get your vaccine! But, before you despair, remember that these are the simply safest guidelines put out there by the CDC and, as a vaccinated traveler, you are far more protected than others if you do wish to travel! We feel that you should be able to safely start traveling again so long as you practice the outlined steps above and travel responsibly.
Remember, that mass vaccination efforts are currently underway across the globe so it is important that you carefully plan your destinations and activities to help protect yet-to-be-vaccinated locals. For instance, if vaccinated travelers can still inadvertently spread Covid-19, they will cause less damage in countries with higher vaccination rates than those with less robust vaccination and healthcare infrastructures.
Do I have to wear a mask on a plane if I am vaccinated?
Yes. It is still law that people over the age of 2 must wear masks on board aircraft in the United States.
When am I fully vaccinated against Covid-19?
The CDC says you are not considered vaccinated until two weeks past your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or two weeks past receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Is there a Vaccine Passport?
While Vaccine Passports are in the works for citizens of certain countries, such as Iceland, Poland, and Portugal, there is currently no set universal Vaccine Passport.