Apr 2, 2021 - Health

Updated CDC guidance says vaccinated people are free to travel

Illustration of an upright vaccine syringe wearing a hero's cape
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Fully vaccinated people can travel domestically and internationally without having to show a negative COVID-19 test or quarantining, but are still recommended to wear a mask and follow public health precautions, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: It's a major incentive for Americans to get vaccinated that will also provide a boost to the U.S. travel industry, which has been financially hammered by the pandemic over the past year.

  • Many states had previously required travelers to quarantine upon arrival in order to curb the spread of the virus.
  • Some countries also required Americans to show proof of a negative coronavirus test upon arrival or at time of departure.

Yes, but: The CDC still recommends that vaccinated people get tested 3-5 days after traveling internationally, since it's not yet fully clear whether they can carry the virus and transmit it to others.

  • Vaccinated Americans are also still required to follow other countries' requirements with regards to testing and quarantining when traveling internationally.

The big picture: The CDC and the White House have been asked repeatedly what fully vaccinated people can do with regards to travel. Earlier in the year, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said there were not enough Americans yet vaccinated for the CDC to decide cross-country travel guidance.

  • The new guidelines also follow a CDC announcement last month that fully vaccinated people can gather with small groups indoors — without masks — and still be safe.

By the numbers: Almost 40% of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. Over a fifth of adults in the country are fully vaccinated.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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