The CDC says it won’t change its travel guidance for vaccinated people until more people get their shots

Rochelle Walenski CDC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky at a White House press briefing on March 1. White House/YouTube
  • The CDC said its travel guidance for vaccinated people wouldn’t change until more people got shots.
  • The agency on Monday relaxed some recommendations for vaccinated people – but not related to travel.
  • People have been making vacation plans all the same.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won’t update its travel rules for vaccinated people yet, its director said Wednesday.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the agency was “really looking forward to updating this guidance” but wasn’t there yet.

Changes will come “as we have more protection across the communities and across the population,” she said.

Walensky was responding to question from the press at a White House briefing on Wednesday.

CDC guidelines for vaccinated people were released Monday. The agency now considers it safe for fully vaccinated people to visit indoors with others who have received their full set of jabs and with certain unvaccinated relatives.

But the CDC did not update its recommendations for nonessential travel.

The CDC recommends that people do not travel if they can avoid it. If travel is unavoidable, the agency says, vaccinated people should wait two weeks after receiving the second dose of vaccine.

Those who have been vaccinated should continue to wear masks and follow CDC advice for social distancing, “just like people who have not yet been vaccinated,” Walensky said.

Walensky noted that cases could surge when people start traveling. “We saw it after July Fourth,” she said. “We saw it after Labor Day. We saw it after the Christmas holidays.”

She stressed that 90% of people in the US were still “unprotected and not yet vaccinated.”

Some 32 million in the US have been fully vaccinated so far, according to John Hopkins University data.

But the White House is concerned by data showing that the decline in US COVID-19 case numbers has started to level out.

Despite the recommendation against nonessential travel, people have still been making bookings for spring.

Disney World in Florida is booked for most of March.

Spring breakers could “spell disaster,” Dr. Peter Hotez, a top global-health expert, told CNN. “This is not the time to have a superspreader event,” he said.

The industry group Airlines For America has pushed back against the CDC, arguing in a statement reported by CNN that being on a plane itself posed a relatively low risk because the air is so heavily filtered.