Medical experts share travel options for those vaccinated

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed vaccinated Americans to travel again, but some vaccinated travelers are staying on the fence to make summer plans.

Is it finally safe to fly? What about visiting unvaccinated parents or traveling with young children?

CNBC Global Traveler has asked medical professionals – all of whom are involved in treatment or research for Covid-19 – to share their travel plans this summer. Here are their answers, in their words.

Summer trips are ‘unlikely’

“I’m unlikely to travel this summer … I’m concerned that the proliferation of variants, existing or new, may set the stage for a replay of last summer’s Covid-19 rise and fall pattern. am also concerned that reluctance to immunize … or supply and access issues will limit our ability to achieve herd immunity in the short term. ”

“We only have to look as far as recent outbreaks of Covid-19 in countries like Canada or states like Michigan to see how vaccine supply issues and the spread of variants can lead to a dangerous push with great impact. “

There is nothing wrong with a wait and see approach at this time.

Mark Cameron

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

“[My kids] are desperate to get out of the house and go to a theme park this summer, but it’s just not on our maps right now. I still believe that there will be relatively safe ways to travel this summer and that there is nothing wrong with waiting and seeing right now. “

“Vaccinating fully, moving our bubble with us, and maintaining the infection control measures that have kept us safe so far, although not mandatory, would be part of the plan.”

—Mark Cameron, epidemiologist and Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Only from house to house – by car

“I’m not traveling this summer except for a drive from our home in New York to our home in the country. Under normal circumstances we would travel a lot, including overseas. But this year we will be spending most of it. of our time in our country house, because it is much easier to avoid close contact than in town or when traveling far. ”

“When we have to get into town, we’ll do it by car. And when we get there, we’ll avoid public transportation, crowded places, and indoor activities.

It is not yet the moment to let go….

William haseltine

President, Access Health International

“Getting vaccinated didn’t change my behavior or my summer travel plans. There are new variants… which emerge regularly, and the vaccines will not be as effective against them all. For this reason, I and all members of my immediate family take the same precautions after vaccination as before being vaccinated. This includes avoiding unnecessary travel. “

“When we have to go to public places, like the post office or the grocery store, we wear N95 masks and a face shield, a combination that has been shown to be effective even in indoor healthcare settings to drastically reduce the burden. risk of infection. “

“If some of our extended family have to travel during the summer, we will ask them not to visit us for at least two weeks after the trip – this includes adults who are vaccinated and children who are not.”

“Now is not the time to abandon public health measures that can help us control the pandemic.”

—William Haseltine, former professor at Harvard Medical School and current president of Access Health International; author of “Variants! The Shape-Changing Challenge of COVID-19”

Yes, but in the same region

“Our family trip this summer will be semi-local. We are planning on heading to the Jersey Shore. [to rent] an efficient apartment… enjoy the hike, the beach and the pool and bring our food with us. We are going to drive so that we can take everything easily. “

Dr Sharon Nachman said a consideration for her family’s summer travel plans to the Jersey Shore was “the ease with which we could return in an emergency.”

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“By bringing our own food, we reduce the need to go to areas that can be overcrowded or unsafe. By looking at places offering a variety of outdoor activities, we can get the fresh air and sun that we have been missing for the past several months. “

“[My children] have all been vaccinated, but our grandchildren have not. With careful planning, we plan to visit and play with them this summer. “

—Dr. Sharon Nachman, Head of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

Travel plans are undecided

“I don’t have any concrete plans yet. I live in California and may decide to visit local destinations within driving distance with my husband for a few days just to take a break. We may also decide to fly to Hawaii. . Hawaii needs to be tested. Before departure and upon arrival. My husband and I are well grown and we are both vaccinated now, and that’s part of why we’re comfortable with the idea of ​​considering domestic travel at this point. We will definitely mask ourselves and wear eye protection during travel. “

For longer flights, Dr Supriya Narasimhan said she would consider booking a business class ticket because “the empty middle seat is no longer there, the airlines make fewer trips and many are quite full.”

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“International travel is a whole other consideration. We would like to visit family members in India this summer because we haven’t seen them for 18 months, but India is experiencing a surge.… People are not hiding reliably thefts and times.of empty middle seats is [in the] past, therefore contracting Covid during the trip is a very real risk, made more complex by the emergence of new variants. “

“In my institution’s experience, post-vaccination Covid is rare, and we have not yet seen a serious case after vaccination. I am confident in our vaccines, but I will do my part to further reduce my risk by diligently masking when I am there. other.”

—Dr. Supriya Narasimhan, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Traveling without a doubt, but only nationally

“My wife and I will be traveling by plane to visit relatives on the East Coast. We will wear masks and be mindful of maintaining social distancing throughout the terminal as well as on board.”

“My wife and I are fully vaccinated, as are the family we are going to visit. Vaccine rollout and impact on state-mandated pre- and post-travel testing and post-travel quarantines [were] crucial to our plans. If there had always been quarantine requirements, we would have delayed the trip until these were lifted – not for fear of infection but simply because of the practical implications. “

Dr Charles Bailey said he plans to clean the surfaces during his flight, including the seat arms and controls, the tray table and the “lip” of the seat pocket.

Craig Hastings | Moment | Getty Images

“If our travel plans had included young children who had not yet been fully immunized, we would have looked at the CDC’s recommendation for pre and post travel testing as well as the possible implications of a post-quarantine period. return trip – dates of schools. Checking out the requirements or expectations of schools they would return to in the fall would also have been a reasonable idea. “

—Dr. Charles Bailey, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Providence St. Joseph Hospital and Providence Mission Hospital

Go abroad this summer

“Like many Americans, my family also plans to travel this summer. This summer, four of our family would love to travel to Lima, Peru, and take a trip to experience the many pleasures of this country, including including the historic Machu Picchu. Seventy-two hours before boarding the plane, we will do a Covid-19 PCR test to protect ourselves and others. ”

“Airports and public transport are expected to be more congested than last year. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that all travelers be vaccinated. As healthcare providers, my wife and I are both fully vaccinated. , and our [adult] children will be vaccinated before our travel activities. “

“It is important before you make travel arrangements to any destination you are looking for… the infectivity rate… should be less than 5%.”

“Data can change quickly and it is important to follow current guidelines and recommendations from local authorities.”

—Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Somos Community of New York Care

Editor’s Note: Peru is currently the subject of a level 4 Covid travel advisory by the CDC. According to the CDC website, travelers should avoid traveling to Peru.

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