Stacey Rizza, M.D., Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic: Firstly, I recommend that all eligible people in the United States get vaccinated for COVID-19. That is going to dramatically decrease your risk of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and also dramatically decrease the risk that even if you were infected, you could transmit it to others. So without a doubt, that's the most important thing a person can do to protect themselves from SARS-CoV-2 anywhere, but particularly during travel.
They will still need to wear a mask while they are on the airplane — Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask while your on the airplane, and then just maintaining other good hygiene, keeping your area clean, washing your hands before taking off your mask to eat, and other just normal, healthy hygiene behaviors.
I've had the privilege of seeing the data as its been published and understanding the trials that occurred in, I can absolutely say that this is very effective, very safe vaccine, and it is far safer than getting the virus itself. And it will make a difference in keeping them healthy long-term, as well as getting rid of the pandemic in our communities.
If they are traveling within the United States and the person is vaccinated, there's no need to be tested. There's no need to quarantine. The only thing everybody should do is to continue to monitor for symptoms.
It's still advisable, particularly for people who are not vaccinated to wear masks. It's still probably best that unvaccinated people maintain distance so that they are not at risk of getting an infection from someone else. If at anytime, whether it's after travel or any other period of time, they start developing symptoms that are consistent with the COVID syndrome, such as fevers, shortness of breath, cough, change in taste or smell than they should be evaluated by their provider and likely get a COVID-19 test. Now if somebody's traveling from outside the United States, they're going to need to do SARS-CoV-2 test at least 72 hours before they board the airplane and come back to the United States. But as long as they do that and it's negative, then there should be no further quarantining that's required.
If you have unvaccinated children, I think it's still safe to fly, but of course they will always be masked. And if you go to places that are more outdoors, more open space, and you are not congregated with lots of other people, I think it's very safe. You just have to think through the steps of what's going to happen on the vacation.
It's still safe to get on an airplane. It's still safe to travel, but just maintain masking more than you would have if you were fully vaccinated. I think it just takes a little bit of thought and planning.