Medical experts share travel options for vaccinated people

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed vaccinated Americans to travel again, but some immunized travelers remain on the fence about making summer plans.

Is it finally safe to fly? How about visiting unvaccinated family members or traveling with young children?

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

Summer travel is ‘unlikely’

“I’m unlikely to travel this summer … I’m afraid the proliferation of variants, existing or new, will pave the way for a repeat of last summer’s ebb and flow Covid-19 wave pattern. concerned that hesitation with vaccines … or problems with delivery and access will limit our ability to achieve immunity to the herd in the short term. ”

“We need only look so far at recent Covid-19 spikes in countries like Canada or states like Michigan to see how problems with the supply of vaccines and the spread of variants can lead to a dangerous wave with major consequences.”

At the moment there is nothing wrong with a wait-and-see attitude.

Mark Cameron

School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University

“[My kids] are desperate to get out of the house and into a theme park this summer, but that’s just not in our cards right now. I still think there are relatively safe ways to travel this summer, and there’s nothing wrong with a wait-and-see attitude right now. “

“Vaccinating completely, bringing our bubble with us, and enforcing the infection control measures that have kept us safe so far, even if not required, would be part of the plan.”

—Mark Cameron, epidemiologist and associate professor at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine

Only from one house to another – by car

“I’m not traveling this summer, except to travel by car from our place in New York City to our home in the country. Under normal circumstances, we would travel a lot, including abroad. spend our time in our country house, because it is much easier to avoid close contact than in the city or on long journeys.

“If we do have to go into town, we do it by car. And when we arrive, we avoid public transport, busy locations and indoor activities.”

Now is not the time to give up….

William Haseltine

President, Access Health International

“Getting vaccinated hasn’t changed my behavior or my summer travel plans. There are new variants … popping up on a regular basis, and the vaccines won’t be as effective against all of them. Because of this, I and all of my close family members take the same precautions after vaccination as we do. before we were vaccinated, which also means avoiding unnecessary travel. “

“When we do have to go to public places, such as to the post office or supermarket, we wear N95 masks and a face shield, a combination that has proven effective even in indoor healthcare to significantly reduce the risk of infection.”

“If some members of our extended family have to travel in the summer, we will ask them not to visit us until at least two weeks after the trip – that includes the adults who are vaccinated and the children who aren’t.”

“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-Shifting Challenge of COVID-19”

Yes, but in the same region

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

Dr. Sharon Nachman said one consideration for her family’s summer travel plans to the Jersey Shore was “how easily we could get back in an emergency.”

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“By bringing our own food, we reduce the need to go to areas that may be busy or unsafe. By looking at locations with a variety of outdoor activities, we can get the fresh air and sunshine we missed for the day. last months. “

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

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

Travel plans are undecided

I don’t have any concrete plans yet. I live in California, and I can decide to visit local destinations within driving distance with my husband for a few days for a break. We may also decide to fly to Hawaii. Hawaii requires testing for departure and arrival. My husband and I are well grown up and are now both vaccinated, which is in part why we feel comfortable considering domestic travel at the moment. We will definitely be wearing masks and eye protection during travel. “

For longer flights, Dr. Supriya Narasimhan said she would consider booking a business class ticket because “the empty middle seat no longer exists, the operators fly fewer trips and many are reasonably full”.

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“International travel is a very different consideration. We would love to visit family in India in the summer as we haven’t seen them for the past 18 months, but India is going through a wave … people don’t reliably mask themselves on flights and it era of empty middle seats [in the] past, so contracting Covid while traveling is a very real risk, made even more complicated by the emergence of new variants. “

“In my facility’s experience, Covid is rare post-vaccination, and we have not seen a serious case post-vaccination. I rely on our vaccines, but I will do my part to further reduce my risk by diligently masking if I get in the neighborhood. others. “

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

Especially when traveling, but only in your own country

“My wife and I will travel by plane to visit relatives on the East Coast. We will wear masks and be aware of keeping a social distance in the terminal and on board.”

“Both my wife and I are fully vaccinated, as is the family we will be visiting. The introduction of the vaccine and its impact on pre- and post-trip state testing and post-trip quarantines. [were] crucial to our plans. Had there still been quarantine requirements, we would have postponed the trip until they were lifted – not for fear of infection, but just because of the practical implications. “

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

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“If our travel plans had included young children who had not yet been fully vaccinated, we would have considered the CDC’s recommendation for pre- and post-trip testing, as well as the potential implications of a post-trip quarantine period regarding return to school dates. It would also have been a reasonable idea to determine what requirements or expectations the schools would have that they would return to in the fall. ”

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

Going abroad this summer

“Like many Americans, my family has plans to travel this summer. This summer, four of our relatives would love to travel to Lima, Peru, and take a trip to discover the many delights of this country, including historic Machu. Picchu 72 hours before boarding the plane, we will have a PCR Covid-19 test to protect ourselves and others. ”

“Airport and public transport are expected to have more congestion than last year. It is therefore 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’s important before making travel arrangements to a destination you are researching … the contamination 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 the Somos Community in New York Care

Editor’s Note: Peru is currently under a Level 4 Covid travel advisory from the CDC. According to the CDC’s website, travelers should avoid travel to Peru.