There has been good news about vaccines recently—in the last week, Johnson & Johnson has announced that its potential vaccine is more than 70% effective—but that doesn’t mean Americans should let down their guard and resume old habits, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, last week. One activity that should be avoided: Travel, which Fauci said was “not a good idea… period.” Read on for more of his warning—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
You Do Not Have a “Free Pass” to Travel After Getting Vaccinated
“Getting vaccinated does not say you have a free pass to travel,” Fauci said on a CNN town hall about COVID-19. “Nor does it say you have a free pass to put aside all the public health measures that we talk about all the time.”
The two current vaccines—produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech—require two doses taken three weeks apart.
“You can get some degree of protection that isn’t durable 10 days to 14 days after the first dose, but you can’t rely on that,” said Fauci. “The maximum immunity begins about 10 days to two weeks and beyond following the second dose. That goes for anyone, regardless of whether you want to travel or not.” Keep reading to see how you can get infected even after getting vaccinated.
You Don’t Have 100% Protection With a Vaccine
Fauci pointed out that even after you get maximum immunity from two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, protection isn’t complete.
“That would give you, as a group, about a 94% to 95% efficacy and a good safety profile,” he said. That means the vaccines do what they’re intended to do: Prevent severe illness from COVID-19. It’s not clear if they prevent infection with coronavirus or transmission to other people. “You could conceivably get infected, get no symptoms and still have virus in your nasal pharynx, which means that you would have to wear a mask to prevent you from infecting someone else, as well as the other side of the coin, where you may not be totally protected yourself,” explained Fauci.
“It is not a good idea to travel, period,” he added. “If you absolutely have to travel and it’s essential, then obviously one would have to do that. But we don’t want people to think that because they got vaccinated that other public health recommendations just don’t apply.”
The CDC Chief Agrees With Dr. Fauci: Don’t Travel
There is no better time to cancel your travel plans. “Now is not the time to travel,” new CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, asserted last week. “But if you must, be safe and follow the CDC guidelines.” This includes wearing a mask as well as testing and quarantining protocol.
The CDC Just Issued a Mask Mandate in All Transportation Hubs
The CDC just issued a mask mandate in all transportation hubs, which includes “airport, bus terminal, marina, seaport or other port, subway station, terminal, train station, U.S. port of entry or any other location that provides transportation.” “Conveyance operators must use best efforts to ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking and for the duration of travel,” the document said.
How to Get Through This Pandemic Healthy
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.