When Do You Need a COVID Vaccine to Travel?
Wearing a Mask Even if You’re Vaccinated
Even though I’m vaccinated, it’s not 100% reliable, and there are now three to four different strains of COVID floating about. Since I want to be healthy and safe to travel, I still always wear my mask at home and when traveling to err on the side of caution.
“Vaccinated people will need to follow mask-wearing and safe social-distancing recommendations in public, at least until we reach the herd immunity magic number, which is around 196 million individuals in the U.S.,” says WorkCare’s Harris. The CDC has loosened restrictions for vaccinated individuals in some social settings, mainly outdoors without a large crowd.
Another reason we’ll want everyone to keep wearing masks and take other precautions for the near future, adds Harris: “We don’t want a subsegment of the population walking around without masks in a setting that requires masks to be worn. That’s just such an awkward precedent for the remainder of individuals who don’t have access to vaccinations at this point in time.”
COVID-19 Travel Passport Apps
There’s been talk about mandating a COVID passport, which would note whether an individual has a negative COVID test and if they are vaccinated. While people were rejecting this idea at first, now it’s catching on, and many of the airlines and cruise lines support using a system where people can keep their COVID records electronically and be able to pull them up for proof of verification while traveling. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that “Anything is on the table. Anything is possible, of course.”
The International Air Transport Association is developing a health app. The IATA Travel Pass will allow travelers to store test and vaccination results on their mobile devices. More than a dozen international airlines are testing this new app for use this summer.
CLEAR is collaborating with the creators of CommonPass, developed by the nonprofit Commons Project and the World Economic Forum. This new app will establish a registry of trusted health care providers and a standard format for reporting results. Passengers will be able to take a COVID-19 test at home, send their test to a lab, and have their products uploaded to the CommonPass app. A QR code certifying that they’re clear for entry will be scanned upon their arrival. Eventually, it can and presumably be used to upload vaccination status, serving as an immunity passport.
Although domestic flights aren’t looking at using this app, many international flights consider this option as a health check for travel passengers. And while a COVID-19 vaccination may not be required to board domestic flights, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian said this type of screening may be exclusive to international travel, “whether the airlines do it or international authorities do it.”
States Requiring COVID Vaccination for Travel
Individual states could require visitors to be vaccinated for COVID-19; in the same way, they need public school students to show proof of vaccinations for certain diseases. Healthcare professionals consider it likely this will be the case, even though it’s going to be a state-by-state process. Some states will elect to mandate vaccinations and proof of immunization.
The public appears to support such requirements: A survey of 2,415 adults by The Points Guy found that two-thirds, 67% of people who are already vaccinated and have a desire to travel, say they are more likely to travel to a destination or with a provider that requires a vaccine passport.
Cruise Lines Requiring Vaccines for Travel
The CDC wants cruise lines to have adequate safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before they are cleared for travel. Several lines have required that all passengers be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Crystal Cruises requires that everyone aboard is fully vaccinated for at least two weeks before departure, with no exceptions. “At this time, we are unable to accommodate any guest who cannot be vaccinated,” stated on their website.
American Queen, known for its trips along the Mississippi River, has also declared that all passengers and crew members will need to have been vaccinated for COVID-19. They’ll also need to be tested for the virus before departure. The British tour company Saga announced that travelers will need to have been vaccinated at least 14 days before cruising.
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