Even if Fully Vaccinated, Public Health Urges Caution While Traveling

As summer approaches and more members of the public are fully vaccinated, the temptation to travel is hard to resist. The County of Los Angeles issued some guidelines this week, which incorporate advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“It is imperative that L.A. County residents continue to take steps necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection until we can achieve higher levels of vaccination in California and globally,” said an April 7 statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health). 

The new Public Health Travel Advisory and Guidance issued on April 5 indicates that non-essential travel out of state or out of country is still not recommended. 

For those that must travel, the following applies:

All travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 1-3 days before travel. Travel should not be initiated until a negative test result is returned. All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 must isolate and follow County isolation instructions. Do not travel when symptomatic or with a positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of vaccination status.

Persons who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to the county from other states or countries could easily introduce new sources of infection (potentially including new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus). All non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries must quarantine. 

Fully vaccinated persons may travel but should continue to take precautions. If asymptomatic, no quarantine or testing is needed upon return.

According to Public Health, a person is “fully vaccinated” if at least two weeks have transpired since the person received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) OR one dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson/Janssen).

Persons who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the United States. While international travel poses additional risk, fully vaccinated persons may travel internationally provided they take precautions while traveling and they have a negative viral test prior to flying into the United States. 

Fully vaccinated persons should continue to take precautions to protect others when they travel. Those precautions include wearing a mask on any form of public transportation, avoiding crowds and remaining at least six feet from anyone not traveling with you. Washing hands often or using hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol) is also recommended. 

Upon return, fully vaccinated people should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, isolate and get tested if symptoms develop. With international travel, a viral test 3-5 days post travel is recommended. 

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