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Planning travel? Become fully vaccinated before you venture

If travel is on your itinerary, health experts remind you to put COVID-19 vaccination on your to-do list.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends full vaccination against COVID-19 for those planning any type of travel, including domestic vacations, international trips and cruises. A person is considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the first dose of a Janssen vaccine.

“Vaccination can help prevent you from becoming infected with COVID-19 in your own community as well as when you travel. If you are considering taking a trip, it is wise to protect yourself and others by becoming vaccinated,” said Martin Chaney, M.D., chief medical officer at Maury Regional Health.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that can cause illness ranging from mild to severe, including a risk of hospitalization and death. Since being identified in late 2019 and causing more than 600,000 deaths in the United States, a number of variations of the virus have gone under surveillance. Some mutations – such as the delta variant – are considered to be even more transmissible than the original virus.

If you are planning a trip by air, sea or land in the coming months, consider this guidance regarding COVID-19.

Domestic travel

Those who are fully vaccinated can safely travel within the United States, according to the CDC; however, it is important to monitor COVID-19 activity in the area that you will be visiting. Some states and regions may experience surges in the spread of the virus at times. Vaccination rates also vary by state, which is something to consider prior to making travel plans.

Learn more about domestic travel recommendations here.

International travel

The CDC advises against international travel until you are fully vaccinated. In addition to taking a flight to your destination, you may need to travel by train, bus or car while in country, increasing your exposure to others. Be aware of mask guidelines for planes, trains and other methods of public transportation as well as indoor transportation facilities, such as airports.

You should remain keenly aware of the risks associated with traveling abroad, particularly with the spread of new variants differing from one country to another. Always check with your travel destination for current requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers. Areas may have different regulations regarding testing, quarantine and entry.

Learn more about international travel recommendations here.

Cruise ship travel

Cruising is a very popular form of travel; however, because cruise ships carry many people in close quarters, the chance of getting COVID-19 is considered high. 

The CDC recommends those with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid traveling on a cruise for now. For those at lower risk, there are a number of things to consider. The CDC recommends that all eligible passengers and crew get a COVID-19 vaccine before boarding a cruise ship. In fact, cruise lines may require passengers to be fully vaccinated in order to sail. Testing should be done three to five days after your cruise. You should stay away from anyone who is at increased risk for severe illness for two weeks after your cruise, regardless of your test results.

Travel and Leisure Magazine maintains an updated list of the vaccination requirements and safety protocols in place for some of the most popular cruise lines. Read more here and learn about additional recommendations for cruise ship travel here.

No matter where you are traveling, always check the latest guidance and requirements related to testing, stay-at-home orders and quarantine. Make sure your plans are flexible in case restrictions change during your trip.

It's important to plan in advance since it takes two weeks after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or the first dose of a Janssen vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. Plan a date and time for your first or second vaccine dose with information at