Fully vaccinated travelers can travel at low risk to themselves, but they may still be able to spread the virus to others

Melissa Wiley
·3 min read
Travelers wearing face masks on plane taking selfies
Fully vaccinated travelers could still spread COVID-19 to others. Hispanolistic/Getty Images
  • Fully vaccinated travelers in the US can now travel at low risk to themselves, according to the CDC.

  • But there is a possibility that they can still spread the virus the others.

  • Vaccinated travelers should still wear a mask and observe social distancing to protect others.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fully vaccinated US residents can now travel domestically at "low risk" to themselves, the CDC announced on April 2, but that doesn't mean they should throw caution to the wind.

While federally-authorized vaccines are "highly effective" at preventing COVID-19 infections, there is still a chance that fully vaccinated people may be infected with COVID-19 and transmit the virus to others, according to the CDC.

Fully vaccinated travelers can still catch and transmit COVID-19 when flying, dining indoors, or visiting crowded places

Studies about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 and to what extent vaccines protect against coronavirus variants are "still under investigation," the organization writes in its latest guidance for vaccinated travelers.

In a report released today, the CDC found that exposure to COVID-19 can occur on airplanes when people take off their masks, or if their masks have gaps in them. The CDC concluded that airlines should leave middle seats empty to reduce the spread of viral, airborne particles by 23% to 57%.

Right now, every major US airline with the exception of Delta is filling the middle seat.

To protect themselves and others, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated travelers continue to follow health guidelines, like wearing a mask, observing social distancing, regularly washing their hands, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, and watching for symptoms of COVID-19.

International travelers should also pay "close attention" to travel advisories due to the emergence of coronavirus variants abroad and "because the burden of COVID-19 varies globally," the CDC says. People in other countries may not have the same access to vaccines and other COVID-19 protections that US residents have.

If your trip involves activities with a higher risk of transition, like dining indoors or visiting crowded destinations, a best practice would be to quarantine you once arrive back home, Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, told Insider's Monica Humphries.

This is especially important if you live with people who are immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci hopes that more clarity about infection and transmission rates in vaccinated people will be available soon

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, is optimistic that more clarity regarding the amount of protection afforded by COVID-19 vaccines will emerge this year.

"We hope that within the next five or so months we'll be able to answer the very important question about whether vaccinated people get infected asymptomatically, and if they do, do they transmit the infection to others," he said at a White House COVID-19 task-force briefing on March 26.

A federally funded study taking place across 20 college campuses is already underway to test COVID-19 transmission rates in people who have received both doses of the Moderna vaccine, the Washington Post reported.

Read the original article on Insider