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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance for fully vaccinated Americans in April, saying that traveling both domestically and internationally was low risk.
The long-awaited recommendations were issued by federal health officials after a series of studies found that vaccines administered in the United States were robustly effective in preventing infections in real-life conditions.
One is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots.
If you decide to travel, you might still have some questions. Here are the answers.
Will I still need to wear a mask and socially distance while traveling?
Yes. Under federal law, masks must be worn at airports in the United States, onboard domestic flights and in all transport hubs. The C.D.C. says that as long as coronavirus measures are taken in these scenarios, including mask wearing, fully vaccinated Americans can travel domestically without having to take a test or quarantine, although the agency warns that some states and territories may keep their local travel restrictions and recommendations in place.
For those wishing to travel internationally, a coronavirus test will not be required before departure from the United States unless mandated by the government of their destination. Vaccinated travelers are still required to get tested three days before travel by air into the United States, and are advised to take a test three to five days after their return, but will not need to self-quarantine.
Can I go abroad?
Yes, but only to countries that will have you.
More than half the world’s countries have reopened to tourists from the United States, including some countries in the European Union, which recently reopened their borders to vaccinated travelers in anticipation of the summer tourism season.
Other places like Turkey, Croatia and Montenegro have already been welcoming Americans with negative test results. Greece also joined that growing list in May, ahead of most European countries, opening to fully vaccinated tourists and other foreigners with a negative test.
Many Caribbean nations have reopened to American tourists, but each has its own coronavirus protocols and entry requirements.
Here’s a full list of countries Americans can currently travel to.
What about domestic travel? Is it free and clear to cross state borders?
If you are fully vaccinated, the C.D.C. says you can travel freely within the United States and that you do not need to get tested, or self-quarantine, before or after traveling. But some states and local governments may choose to keep travel restrictions in place, including testing, quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Hawaii, for instance, still has travel restrictions in place.
Before you travel across state lines, check the current rules at your destination.
How are they going to check that I’m fully vaccinated?
Right now, the best way to prove that you have been vaccinated is to show your vaccine card.
Digital vaccine and health certificates showing that people have been vaccinated or tested are in various stages of development around the world and are expected, eventually, to be widely used to speed up travel.
The subject of “vaccine passports” is currently one of the most hotly debated topics within the travel industry, with questions over the equity of their use and concerns over health and data privacy.
In early April, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida issued an executive order that would ban local governments and state businesses from requiring proof of vaccination for services.
And in March, the European Union endorsed its own vaccine certificate, but individual European countries are still expected to set their own rules for travel requirements this summer.
But what about my kids? What’s the guidance on traveling with unvaccinated people?
The C.D.C. advises people against travel unless they have been vaccinated. If you must travel, the agency recommends testing one to three days before a trip and following all coronavirus guidance at your destination.
In May, the F.D.A. expanded its emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to include adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age.
All air passengers aged two and older coming into the United States, including fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than three days before they board their flight.
What is my moral obligation to the places I visit where most people are not vaccinated?
The United States inoculation rollout has been among the fastest in the world, but there is a stark gap between its rapid rollout and the vaccination programs in different countries. Some nations have yet to report a single dose being administered.
Many countries are currently seeing a surge in new cases and are implementing strict coronavirus protocols, including mask mandates in public spaces, capacity limits at restaurants and tourist sites and other lockdown restrictions.
It is important to check coronavirus case rates, measures and medical infrastructure before traveling to your destination and not to let your guard down when you get there. Even though you are fully vaccinated, you may still be able to transmit the disease to local communities who have not yet been inoculated.
You can track coronavirus vaccination rollouts around the world here.
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