Fully vaccinated Americans cleared to travel without tests or quarantine periods — CDC

A woman at the airport holds her passport covid-19 vaccine record card and boarding pass

Anyone who's been holding off on trying to get a COVID vaccine may now have a new incentive.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today said fully vaccinated people can safely travel at "low risk", Reuters reported.

Unless required to do so by the worldwide destination, fully vaccinated people no longer require a test, and they no longer have to self-quarantine after returning to the US, unless required to do so by a state or local jurisdiction.

With regard to global travel, fully vaccinated people will not be required to take a COVID-19 test ahead of time - unless their destination requires such testing - and will not have to self-isolate after returning to the United States after traveling.

In a statement, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, "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".

The CDC's tweets this week are based on already existing CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals - meaning it's been two weeks since they received their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or it's been two weeks since they received the single dose of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. The CDC does note, however, that Americans still need to follow the guidelines set by other countries for worldwide travel, including testing or quarantining.

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Why the guidance change?

Meanwhile, nothing has changed for travelers who are not fully vaccinated.

The U.S.travel industry which has had a dismal year because of the Covid-19 crisis expects this announcement will help them come out of the slump though recently many Americans have ignored the guidelines and have started traveling in higher numbers. "As of March 26, fully vaccinated Americans who can present proof of vaccination can visit Iceland, for example, and avoid border measures such as testing and quarantining, the country's government said", according to the report.

Walensky acknowledged that it is confusing to hear messages both about what vaccinated can do and the CDC asking people not to do them because of the concerning increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people.

Masks are still recommended, along with social distancing and other precautions.

The CDC did not revise guidance for non-vaccinated people.

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