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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: What You Need to Know Before You Travel


Person with all required documents needed to travel. | Image from ronstik

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It’s the holiday season, so chances are there will be an increase in travel as family and friends get together. With COVID-19 mandates rapidly changing, here is what you need to know before traveling.

People traveling by air internationally to the United States, regardless of their vaccination status, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test no more than one day before travel to the United States. Children under two years old do not need to test.

If you have recovered from COVID-19 within the past ninety days, proof of a positive COVID-19 test and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating you are cleared to travel will be required. The new requirement went into effect on December 6 and is in response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

If traveling internationally this holiday season, the CDC advises you not to travel until you have been fully vaccinated. Being fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after one has received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine. Many governments are enforcing testing and vaccinations; be sure to check all international destinations for the latest requirements.

Even when “fully vaccinated,” the CDC recommends everyone age eighteen and older get a booster shot.

This is especially important for persons sixty-five and older and those who are immunocompromised, as the effectiveness of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines decreases after six months, and the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine’s effectiveness decreases after two months.

If you plan to travel internationally during the holidays, be sure to check your destination location for updated COVID-19 travel requirements. During travel, and in any United States airport, it’s required that you wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose; it should be worn within the aircraft and inside the airport at all times.

For those flying domestically, it’s recommended that you are fully vaccinated before travel, but it’s not required. If not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends you check your airline for any documentation or testing requirements and that you make yourself aware of any vaccine mandates or COVID-19 protocols for your destination.

The CDC also recommends all travelers get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after returning home, even if there are no symptoms present.

As you travel this holiday season, it is recommended to check the CDC website for the most up-to-date information before traveling.

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