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April 02, 2021

Fully vaccinated people can travel in the U.S. without getting tested for COVID-19, CDC says

But with coronavirus cases rising, the agency still recommends against unnecessary trips

People who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus now can travel without restrictions in the United States. 

Vaccinated people do not need to get a COVID-19 test before and after flying within the U.S., according to updated travel guidance released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThey also don't need to self-quarantine after arriving in a new location. 

Vaccinated travelers also don't need a negative COVID-19 test before leaving the U.S. on an international flight — unless it's required by their travel destinations.

They still must get a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight back into the U.S., and should get tested again three to five days after arrival. But they do not need to quarantine upon returning to the U.S.

The CDC continues to recommend that unvaccinated travelers get a COVID-19 test before and after traveling, and quarantine for 10 days after arriving.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final COVID-19 shot. 

Masks are still required for all travelers on planes, trains, buses and other forms of public transit. The CDC also recommends people to maintain six feet of social distance and practice healthy hand hygiene. 

The CDC's travel update comes as more than 100 million Americans have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. In light of this, and growing evidence of the vaccines' efficacy, travel is considered lower risk for people who have been vaccinated. 

"Every day you get more data, and you change your guidance based on the existing data," Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska's College of Public Health, told the Associated Press.

Yet, the CDC is still recommending against unnecessary travel — even for vaccinated people, Director Rochelle Walensky said. 

"CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the number of rising cases,'' Walensky said during a COVID-19 briefing that addressed fears of a fourth wave.

Last month, the CDC said vaccinated people can safely gather indoors with other vaccinated people, or with one household of unvaccinated people, without needing to wear a mask or social distance. 

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