The information below was shared on April 12, 2021. For the most up-to-date information, please see the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at this link.
My family and I have been vaccinated. Is it safe to travel?
We have started to get questions similar to the one above. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for domestic and international travel for people who have been fully vaccinated. We have provided summaries and added a few comments about people with Down syndrome more specifically. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. If you must travel, the CDC has also issued guidelines for domestic and international travel for people who have NOT been fully vaccinated. These guidelines are different than those for people who have been fully vaccinated. Information on travel on the CDC website can be accessed at this link.
Being fully vaccinated is defined as at least 2 weeks after the second shot of a 2-shot vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) or at least 2 weeks after a 1-shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).
For domestic travel (travel in the United States), the CDC has issued the following recommendations:
For international travel, the CDC has provided the information below:
Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.
CDC recommends delaying international travel until you are fully vaccinated.
- If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine:
- You should continue to follow CDC's recommendations for traveling safely and get tested 3-5 days after travel.
- You do NOT need to get tested before leaving United States unless your destination requires it.
- You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.
- Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC's recommendations for traveling safely including:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
- Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
People with Down Syndrome
Studies such as the one published by Huls et al. have shown that people with Down syndrome, particularly those over age 40 and those with diabetes, obesity, and congenital heart disease, are at higher risk of experiencing severe complications from COVID-19. Thus, we suggest that those individuals be particularly careful about following the CDC's recommendations for traveling safely. The CDC has a page called "Safer Travel Ideas" on its website.
As I have written in other COVID-19 resources, deciding whether to travel is a decision that must be made by each family. In addition to CDC recommendations, other factors to consider include the health status of family members, how well family members are able to follow safety and hygiene recommendations, the importance of the trip, the method of travel, the positivity rate at the travel destination, and the type of accommodations at your destination, among others.
To see all our resources on COVID-19, please visit this link.