CDC Issues New Travel Guidelines For Fully Vaccinated People

Stephanie Stahl reports.

Video Transcript

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UKEE WASHINGTON: As the Easter holiday weekend begins, the CDC has issued new guidelines on travel today. Federal health officials say it's OK for vaccinated Americans to travel as long as they take precautions. Health reporter Stephanie Stahl is here with new details on the recommendation. Stephanie.

STEPHANIE STAHL: Well, Ukee, we have a bit of confusing mixed messaging from the CDC today. It is still not recommending travel this new guidance out today says it's safe for people who are fully vaccinated.

A busy travel day at Philly international.

- We're headed to Nashville for a wedding.

STEPHANIE STAHL: Millions of Americans are expected to travel over the Easter holiday weekend.

- We all have our masks, and we'll wash our hands and stay six feet away from everybody.

STEPHANIE STAHL: Updated guidance from the CDC says it's safe for fully vaccinated people to travel. But because COVID cases are rising locally and around the country, the agency says it's better not to.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY: I would advocate against general travel overall. Our guidance is silent on recommending or not recommending fully vaccinated people travel. Our guidance speaks to the safety of doing so.

STEPHANIE STAHL: People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final dose. The CDC now says there is no need for them to be tested before international travel unless it's required by the destination, and they do not have to quarantine after returning to the US.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY: Changing the science is complex. On the one hand, we are telling you we are worried about rising cases, to wear a mask, and to avoid travel. Yet on the other hand, we are saying that if you are vaccinated, evolving data suggests that traveling is likely lower risk.

STEPHANIE STAHL: The new CDC travel guidance says fully vaccinated people still need a negative test before an international flight back into the US and they should get a COVID test three to five days after returning.

- And it's getting back to normal. So, slowly but surely.

STEPHANIE STAHL: But only 20% of the country is fully vaccinated, so precautions are still advised, and the guidance has not changed for unvaccinated people. They should be tested before and after travel and quarantine when necessary. And this new travel update from the CDC comes with the latest science that says people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. Ukee?

UKEE WASHINGTON: Stephanie, thank you.