April 6, 2021

Around the nation: CDC says fully vaccinated people can travel in the US and abroad—with some caveats

Daily Briefing

    CDC in updated guidance released Friday said fully vaccinated Americans may travel safely in the United States without taking a Covid-19 test or self-quarantining, as long as they continue to follow measures intended to contain the novel coronavirus's spread, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, Vermont, and Washington.

    • Georgia: CDC in updated guidance released Friday said fully vaccinated Americans may travel safely in the United States without taking a Covid-19 test or self-quarantining, as long as they continue to follow measures intended to contain the novel coronavirus's spread, including wearing masks, staying six feet from others, and avoiding crowds. CDC in the guidance said fully vaccinated Americans traveling abroad also don't need to self-quarantine or take a Covid-19 test before leaving the country unless the destination country requires it. CDC said fully vaccinated Americans should, however, get tested before boarding a flight back to the United States and three to five days after their arrival. However, despite the new guidance, CDC Director Rocelle Walensky during a White House briefing Friday said, "While we believe that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases." The new guidance does not change CDC's existing recommendations for unvaccinated Americans, which advise against such travel. For unvaccinated Americans who must travel, CDC recommends they get tested one to three days before domestic travel and three to five days after their travel, and that they self-quarantine for seven-to-10 days after travel (Cohen, Roll Call, 4/2; Choi, Associated Press, 4/2; Van Beusekom, CIDRAP News, 4/2; Treisman, NPR, 4/2).
    • Vermont: Gov. Phil Scott (R) on Thursday announced Vermont is opening vaccine eligibility to all Black, Indigenous, and other permanent state residents of color ages 16 and older. Jen Kates, SVP and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the move makes Vermont the first state to give people of color priority status for the Covid-19 vaccine. Vermont health officials are hopeful the change will lower the risk of severe cases of Covid-19 among the state's residents of color who are twice as likely as white residents to end up hospitalized with the disease. However, Céline Gounder, an infectious diseases specialist at NYU Langone Health, said the move "could backfire" as it could "give some the impression that the vaccine is being rolled out to them first as a test," potentially reinforcing "the fear that people of color are being used as guinea pigs for something new" (Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, 4/5).
    • Washington: Lourdes Health has named Joan White-Wagoner as CEO, effective May 3. White-Wagoner most recently served as senior managing director at MRN Healthcare Management and previously served as CEO of Martin General Health System in North Carolina, as system VP and medical center CEO at Baptist Health Medical Center in Arkansas, and as system COO at Texas General Hospital System. White-Wagoner will succeed Chad Pew, who has served as Lourdes's interim CEO since September 2020 (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/31).

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