Is Travel Safe after Receiving Your Coronavirus Vaccine?

The COVID-19 pandemic has passed the one-year mark, and in that time it has severely limited international and even domestic travel. Lately, however, travel is starting to increase, especially with spring bringing warmer weather and a sense of optimism.

With many people looking forward to spring break and summer travel, some are wondering if guidelines will change now that vaccines are becoming more widely available. The CDC has fortunately released revised guidelines specifically for individuals who are fully vaccinated and want to travel by air. Here is more on what they suggest.

Air Travel after Vaccinations

The travel industry has suffered significantly throughout the global pandemic, but airlines were especially hard hit. With the pace of vaccinations ramping up, it looks like travel is starting to increase again. Initially, the CDC had issued a near blanket statement suggesting that all travel be restricted to keep everyone as safe as possible during the pandemic. However, on April 2, 2021, the CDC updated those guidelines for domestic travel to note that individuals who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus should be able to travel without putting themselves at serious risk of infection. This is assuming that they continue to follow basic safety precautions, including wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing.

The CDC’s guidelines also state that fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine or take a COVID-19 test before or after traveling. Again, these guidelines are strictly for domestic travel. For international travel, the CDC still advises travelers to get a COVID-19 test both before and after their trips.

Non-Essential Travel

Despite these changes to the CDC’s travel advice, they still caution against non-essential travel of any kind, regardless of whether or not you are fully vaccinated. Because most people are not yet vaccinated, it is still safer to limit unnecessary travel, restricting trips when possible, and taking necessary precautions while on your trip.

Fully Vaccinated

According to CDC guidelines, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final dose of the vaccine (in the case of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, both of which require two doses) and two weeks after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (which only requires one). Early research has indicated that these vaccines are effective in real-world situations at preventing infection from the virus. This promising knowledge is part of the reason why organizations like the CDC have begun to relax some restrictions they have recommended in the past.