ATLANTA - If you are fully vaccinated and eager to start flying again, the CDC now says travel is "low risk" for you.
The agency says fully vaccinated individuals who fly within the US no longer need to get tested for COVID-19 before and after they fly or quarantine afterwards, as long as they are taking precautions, such as wearing masks on their flights.
"For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can fly to visit their healthy grandkids without getting a COVID-19 test or self-quarantining, provided they follow the other recommended prevention measures while traveling," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says.
About 20% of American adults are now fully vaccinated, which means they are at least two weeks out from their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged Americans, regardless of their vaccine status, to avoid all but essential travel because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the US.
Masks are required on US flights, and the agency is urging passengers on planes, trains and other public transportation to social distance, wash or sanitize their hands frequently and avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
The CDC says international passengers who are fully vaccinated will still need to show proof a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their return flight to the US.
Dr. Walensky says the CDC is changing its travel guidance because there is growing evidence the COVID-19 vaccines offer a very high level of real-world protection.
"That said, we are at 64,000 new cases today, and our numbers continue to increase," she cautions. "We had an increase of 8% today. I still continue to worry that, with 80% of Americans unvaccinated, we have a lot of work to do to control this pandemic."
About 2.9 million Americans are being vaccinated a day.
To get to a high enough level of community immunity to shut down the spread of the coronavirus, experts believe about 80% of Americans would have get vaccinated.
This week the US Government launched a major public education campaign, launching
the COVID-19 Community Corps, which US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says will be a grassroots vaccine education campaign.
"The research is telling us that when people are deciding to get vaccinated, they want to hear from the people they know and trust," Dr. Murthy says. "That may be a doctor or nurse, or a teacher or minister. It might be a family member or friend.
Volunteers will share CDC information about the vaccine with people in their social circles.
Murthy says the Community Corps launched Thursday with about 275 members.
Within 24 hours, he says, about 2,500 more members had signed up.
Volunteers can sign up by going to www.wecandothis.hhs.gov.
"So, if you're active on social media, if you volunteer with a civic group, or are active at your church or temple, if you run a community organization that you think can be helpful, or if you just want to have an informed conversation with family members around the dinner table, then we need you in this effort," Dr. Murthy says.
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