Fully Vaccinated Americans Can Now Travel Without COVID Tests or Quarantines in U.S., CDC Says

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Brian van der Brug-Pool/Getty Health-care worker receives COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Friday that Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may safely resume traveling once more.

According to new guidelines posted on its "Travel During COVID-19" page, the CDC said that, "People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States," noting "fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19."

The organization noted that a person who is considered fully vaccinated is someone who has gone two weeks since receiving the last recommended dose of a vaccine.

The new guidelines state that travelers who are fully vaccinated do not need to be tested before or after they travel, unless it is a requirement set by their destination.

People who have received the COVID-19 vaccine also do not need to quarantine after travel, but are recommended to continue taking COVID-19 precautions seriously by wearing a mask, staying socially distant and washing hands frequently.

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"With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. "We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it's their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives."

"Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity," he added.

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The CDC stated, however, that the new update does not change guidance for individuals who have not gone two weeks since receiving their last shot. The CDC is not encouraging any forms of non-essential domestic travel by those who are not fully vaccinated.

Should they need to travel, unvaccinated travelers should still get tested 1 to 3 days before domestic travel and again 3 to 5 days after travel, per the CDC. They should also self-quarantine for 7 days after travel or 10 days if they don't get tested after traveling.

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As for international travel, the CDC is recommending similar guidance, though some destination countries may require a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry among other rules.

The CDC also recommends that individuals test negative for COVID-19 before coming back into the country.

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U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow reacted to the CDC's new guidelines in a statement on Friday, calling the decision one in "the right direction."

"The CDC's new travel guidance is a major step in the right direction that is supported by the science and will take the brakes off the industry that has been hardest hit by the fallout of COVID by far," he said. "As travel comes back, U.S. jobs come back."

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"Acknowledging that vaccinations eliminate the need for testing and quarantines removes a key barrier to domestic travel. Rescinding the recommendation that international visitors must quarantine also is an important incremental step," he added

On Friday, the CDC walked back a previous claim that people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 do not spread the virus, clarifying that they do not yet definitively know if that's the case.

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