Americans who have been fully vaccinated against Kovid-19 can safely travel at home and abroad, as long as they take basic precautions like wearing masks, federal health officials announced Friday, which has long since cost millions Long awaited by government warning. Home for the last one year.
Announcing the change at a White House news conference, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized that they prioritized that people avoid traveling. But he said increasing evidence of the real-world effectiveness of vaccines – which has been given to more than 100 million Americans – suggested that people who were vaccinated could do so “themselves at lower risk.”
The change in the CDC’s official stance comes at a moment of both hope and risk in the epidemic. Vaccination rates are increasing rapidly across the country, and the number of deaths has decreased.
Yet cases are increasing in many states as new forms of coronovirus have spread in the country. Last Monday, the director of the CDC, Drs. Rochelle P. Valensky warned of a possible fourth wave if states and cities continue to impose public health restrictions, telling reporters they had feelings of “impending doom”.
Some public health experts were surprised by Friday’s announcement and expressed concern that the government was sending confusing signals to the public.
“It’s a mixture of ‘please don’t travel’, at the moment it’s making travel easier for a subset of people,” Dr. Said Wafa al-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “I think it’s very confusing and be ‘Stay put,’ ‘Hold on,'” Be patient for the message you heard earlier this week. ” And this is what worries me. The public health message is very clear, very consistent, and it is to be very simple. “
Dr. Valensky himself appeared to accept a clear mixed message during Friday’s news conference. “Science shows us that being fully vaccinated allows you to safely do more work, and it is important for us to provide that guidance in the context of growing cases.
The travel industry welcomed the new guidance, hoping that it could be the beginning of a run of fortunes for airlines, hotels and tourist destinations that have suffered increasing losses for more than a year.
“American jobs return as soon as travel returns,” Roger Doe, chief executive of the US Travel Association, an industry group, said in a statement.
Federal officials remain adamant that people who have not been fully vaccinated should not travel in a position widely supported by public health experts.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can return to the trip, but if you are not, there are still a lot of viruses roaming around and it is still a risky undertaking and as long as you get vaccinated Or should not stop until the situation improves “. Katlin Rivers, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
If unsolicited people must travel, the CDC advises them to be tested for coronavirus infection one to three days before their trip and then three to five days after it is over. The agency said it should self-quarantine for seven days if they did not undergo tests and after traveling for 10 days, the agency said.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after receiving a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Shot. According to the CDC’s latest numbers, some 58 million people in the US, 22 percent of the adult population, have been fully vaccinated.
Scientists are still not sure whether those vaccinated can become infected, even briefly, and pass the virus on to others. A recent cdc study Suggested that such cases may be rare, But until this question is resolved, many public health officials feel it is unwise to tell vaccinated Americans to do as they wish. They say it is important for all vaccinators to wear masks, practice social disturbances and take other precautions.
Under the new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated Americans who are traveling domestically are not required to test for coronavirus or follow quarantine procedures at the destination or after returning home. When they travel abroad, they only need to get a coronovirus test or quarantine if the country they need is.
However, the guidance says that they must have a negative Coronavirus test Must be tested again before flying back to the United States, and three to five days after their return.
The recommendation is dedicated to the idea that Those vaccinated may still be infected with the virus. The CDC also cited a lack of vaccine coverage in other countries, and worried about the possible introduction and spread of new variants of the virus prevalent abroad.
Most states have accelerated their deadline to open vaccination to all adults, as the pace of vaccination is increasing across the country. As of Friday, on average, around three million shots were being administered a day, According to the data reported by the CDC
The new advice states that the CDC recommendations issued in early March state Fully vaccinated people may gather in small groups In private settings without masks or social distinctions, and are at low risk for developing serious illness when infected with the virus, as long as they can travel with disqualified individuals from the same home.
Travel is already growing nationwide, as fatigue increases with weather disturbances and the epidemic ban of Americans. Last Sunday was the busiest day at domestic airports since the epidemic began. According to the Transportation Security Administration, approximately 1.6 million people passed through security checkpoints at US airports.
But the concerns of the industry are far away. The epidemic has also shown large and small businesses that their employees can often perform productive tasks in the same way as remote face-to-face meetings. As a result, the airline and hotel industries expect this to happen in the years before lucrative corporate travel, leaving a gaping hole in revenue to reach prependemic levels.
According to the airlines, leisure travel within the United States to the US may continue to recover, with passenger volumes expected to reach 2019 levels by 209 or 2024. The group said that the industry lost more than $ 35 billion last year and lost tens of millions of dollars every day.
Many countries, including those from the European Union, still prevent the majority of Americans from arriving. Some people are starting to make exceptions for vaccination. As of March 26, fully vaccinated Americans who can present proof of vaccination, for example, can visit Iceland and avoid restrictions such as testing and quarantine, The government of the country said
The CDC on Thursday issued more detailed technical instructions for cruise lines, requiring them to take steps to develop vaccination strategies and plan routine testing of crew members and daily reporting of Kovid-19 cases, Before they could make a test run of vengeance. Volunteers, before taking real passengers. The CDC’s instructions acknowledge that the cruises “will always pose some risks of Kovid-19 transmissions.”
Some destinations and cruise lines have already begun ensuring that passengers are fully vaccinated. Cruise line Royal Caribbean requires passengers or crew members to be 18 or older to board their ship, such as Virgin Cruises, Crystal Cruise and others.
At the moment, airlines do not require vaccinations for travel. But there is a lot of discussion about this idea in the industry.
Neeraj Chokshi contributed reporting.