Eager travelers got some good news from the Centers for Disease Control on Friday, though that news came with a bit of a caveat and a warning from health officials that staying home is still the best policy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues this spring.
As CNN laid out on Friday, the CDC detailed guidelines for those who have been fully immunized by a COVID-19 vaccine and hope to travel. The good news: there’s much less risk to themselves for those vaccinated, but some uncertainty remains for everyone else.
Fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday, but travel still isn’t recommended at this time because of rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
The agency said that as long as coronavirus precautions are taken, including mask wearing, fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States without getting tested for Covid-19 before or self-quarantining after.
News of little risk for vaccinated travelers was initially seen as a green light for travel by many, but the CDC later clarified that it doesn’t recommend traveling just yet.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says that despite new travel guidance for vaccinated individuals, people should still not travel.
— David Lim (@davidalim) April 2, 2021
But being vaccinated, while helping bring America one step closer to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and hopefully reaching herd immunity, does at least in theory make travel a bit less of a hassle than it would if you’re unvaccinated. Not needing to quarantine or acquire a negative test before a trip is good news, though proper masking and staying away from crowds is still recommended for the foreseeable future.
And despite the good signs that vaccinated people are unlikely to contract coronavirus, the science is still unclear just yet about whether it can be spread to others who are unvaccinated, which is why the CDC has not officially recommended for anyone just yet.
“We haven’t changed our guidance for nonessential travel at all. We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated people,” Walensky said, emphasizing that the update is meant for those who are vaccinated — only about 20% of the adult population.
“I still continue to worry that with 80% of the population unvaccinated that we still have a lot of work to do to control this pandemic,” Walensky said.
With vaccine safety still being studied in children under 18, many families won’t be able to travel fully vaccinated for some time. But for those dreaming of a travel-filled future in a post-coronavirus world, the sense is that we’re finally getting a bit closer to actually making that a reality.