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Have Shot, Will Travel

The CDC has relaxed its Covid-19 guidance for vaccinated travelers, and that vaccination card is a valuable asset.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who have been fully vaccinated are less likely to get and spread Covid-19. As a result, the agency issued new travel guidance on April 2 that relaxes its recommendations for travel during the pandemic.

The new guidance varies depending on whether the travel is domestic or international. For trips within the U.S., the CDC now says that people who are vaccinated do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it and do not need to self-quarantine. However, preventative rules remain in place: Travelers should still wear face masks, physically distance, and frequently wash their hands. In fact, masks continue to be legally required for most people when traveling on airplanes, trains, subways, buses, and taxis.

International travel is a bigger challenge because “even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new Covid-19 variants,” according to the CDC. People should delay traveling internationally until vaccinated, and even after they’ve had their shots are still required to have a negative Covid test within three days of arriving back in the U.S. However, the new guidance says that travelers who are vaccinated don’t need to get tested before leaving U.S. unless the destination requires it, and they don’t need to self-quarantine after arriving home.

“The CDC’s new travel guidance is a major step in the right direction that is supported by the science and will take the brakes off the industry that has been hardest hit by the fallout of Covid by far,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. “The year-long halt on travel has devastated U.S. employment, with travel-supported jobs accounting for 65 percent of all U.S. jobs lost last year. This is an opportunity to begin reclaiming a lot of what’s been lost.”

Word to the wise: The U.S. has no central database of immunizations; a Covid-19 vaccination card is the best physical proof that you’ve had your shots, so keep it safe. Make a paper photocopy, take a photo of both sides, and once you’ve had your second dose (if it’s a two-dose vaccine), consider laminating the card. Whatever you do, don’t share it on social media because forgers are waiting.

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