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White House says fully vaccinated can now travel, updates other guidance

April 02, 2021
5 min read
White House says fully vaccinated can now travel, updates other guidance
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The White House on Friday announced that fully vaccinated Americans can travel at "low-risk" to themselves.

The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a person is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine. The CDC also says:

  • Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test before travel unless it is required by the international destination.
  • Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the United States, unless required by a state or local jurisdiction.
  • Fully vaccinated people should still have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board a flight to the United States and get a COVID-19 test 3 to 5 days after returning from international travel.
  • Fully vaccinated people should continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling internationally.

Prior to today, the CDC hadn’t offered much guidance on what fully vaccinated Americans can do, other than an update from early March. In that update, the CDC said that fully vaccinated people could visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people (or with unvaccinated people who are low-risk for COVID-19), without wearing masks or social distancing. People who have been fully vaccinated can also avoid quarantine and testing if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic.

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However, the CDC had not relaxed its travel restrictions -- until now.

“With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives. Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.”

This news comes amid changing rhetoric and guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23, 2020. - The worldwide death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic rose to 186,462 on April 23, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT. (Photo by Tami Chappell / AFP) (Photo by TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images)

Just this week, Walensky issued a stark warning on Monday, as she warned Americans to “please limit travel," saying that travel is helping to spread the coronavirus. And despite the new guidance, she again reiterated during Friday's briefing that the "CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases."

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President Joe Biden has also urged state officials to reinstate mask mandates to deal with the pandemic. The president said because of what he called reckless behavior, the virus was spreading again. Over 553,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S., which remains the world’s hardest-hit country.

While 16% of the U.S. population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it's important to note that the U.S. is an outlier here. Many of the destinations most popular with American travelers, such as Mexico, still lag far behind. Mexico, for instance, has vaccinated just 0.75% of its citizens, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The travel industry reacted positively to the news.

“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," Roger Dow, the president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association. "As travel comes back, U.S. jobs come back."

"The virus has always been the problem, threatening our lives and our jobs," said Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. "We are thrilled with the CDC's announcement that vaccinated people can travel. We need to make sure flight attendants and other transportation workers have priority access to the vaccine."

The increase in positive cases comes amidst a surge in air travel.

The TSA has screened more than a million people every day since March 11. To give you an idea of how that compares to last year when travel ground to a halt, the agency on March 28, 2020, screened just 180,002 people.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023