Infectious Disease

Fully vaccinated people can travel but should still take precautions, CDC says

April 02, 2021

1 min read

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In updated guidelines, the CDC said that fully vaccinated people can travel but should still take precautions.

“Given the most recent studies assessing the real effects of vaccination, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk for themselves,” the agency said. “A person is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.”

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The agency continues to advise against unnecessary travel by people who are not fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated people can travel domestically on their return without testing or quarantine as long as they take precautionary measures, such as: For example, wear a mask, avoid crowds, keep a safe distance and wash your hands, according to the CDC.

Rochelle P. Walensky

“With millions of Americans being vaccinated every day, it is important to keep the public informed of the latest science on what fully vaccinated people can safely do, including guidelines on how to travel safely,” said CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPHsaid in a statement.

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

The CDC also provided guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals wishing to travel internationally:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to have a COVID-19 test prior to international travel unless the intended destination requires it.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to self-quarantine upon return to the U.S. unless a state or local jurisdiction requires it.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should still have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding the US and should be tested 3 to 5 days after their return.
  • Those who are fully vaccinated should continue to take all COVID-19 precautions when traveling.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated should have a COVID-19 test 1 to 3 days prior to travel in the United States and 3 to 5 days after travel. You should also quarantine yourself 7 days after traveling, or 10 days if you don’t want to get a COVID-19 test after returning.

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Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Amesh A. Adalja

The updated CDC guidelines were awaited and, for many of us, we thought they were overdue based on the data we are seeing on the effectiveness of the vaccines. I think it reflects the science that people who are fully vaccinated have little risk of contracting COVID-19 or even being a vector for the spread of COVID-19 to other people.

I suspect that the guidelines will be updated again as there is more and more data on the effectiveness of these vaccines and you will find that the guidelines for vaccinated people keep changing. I think it will really reflect the fact that the vaccine is the way to get your life back and to be able to safely be much freer than you could before vaccination. It really is an incentive for people to get vaccinated because it means they can do so many more things safely.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Senior Scholar

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety

Disclosure: Adalja does not report any relevant financial information.

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