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CDC Updates Air Travel Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

April 05, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its air travel recommendations for fully vaccinated Americans last week, but the agency is not recommending air travel at this time due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, during a press briefing.

"I still continue to worry that—with 80 percent of the population unvaccinated—we have a lot of work to do to control this pandemic, which remains my concern," Dr. Walensky said.

In its updated guidance, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel, but should continue following the proper safety precautions, such as wearing a mask and avoiding crowds. The CDC said that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

“We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives,” Dr. Walensky said. “Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.”

According to the newly updated domestic travel guidelines, fully vaccinated residents:

  • Should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; and isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms
  • Do not need to get tested or self-quarantine when traveling domestically, as long as they continue to take the proper COVID-19 precautions
  • Should consider all  state and local recommendations or requirements

Due to the threat of potential COVID-19 variants, the CDC says that fully vaccinated people still must produce a negative COVID-19 test result before they board an international flight back to the United States and get a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning from international travel.

The CDC’s guidance for people who are not fully vaccinated remains the same.

Residents who must travel and are not fully vaccinated should:

  • Get tested one to three days before domestic travel and again three to five days after travel
  • Stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after traveling, even if they test negative for COVID-19
  • Self-quarantine for ten days post-travel if they do not get tested

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, it remains critical for everyone to do their part to help end the global pandemic. HAP encourages residents to remain vigilant and follow the proper public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, washing their hands, and avoiding gatherings outside their household.

For more information, contact Mary Catanzaro, or Clare Edelmayer, HAP’s project managers, infection prevention.