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Sorry, Not Sorry, CDC: If I Get Vaccinated, I’m Traveling

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


When I receive my final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, I’ll be on a plane about a month later.

Sorry, not sorry, CDC.

In Rene’s lunchtime travel headlines post on Tuesday, he linked to a story that says the Center for Diseases Control is poo-pooing some travel even for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The CDC does not recommend that fully vaccinated people fly to go see their loved ones,” wrote Boston 25 News’ Kelly Sullivan.

Fine. When I get vaccinated, I’ll visit people with whom I don’t get along. Does that work? 😉

Seriously, though, Ms. Sullivan adds, “The CDC is asking people to avoid non-essential travel, saying when they see a surge in travel, there is a surge of cases.”

No kidding, CDC. Those surges occurred before the vaccine was as available as it is now.

“The CDC’s guidance is based on the country’s vaccination rate and the uncertainty over whether people who are vaccinated can still spread COVID,” the article states.

Close up of doctor's hands vaccinating child
(©iStock.com/Nastco)

So are we supposed to “follow the science” or not? (To be clear: This shouldn’t be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor or medical professional in any way. Though I once worked for someone who played one on television.)

“So this is one of these examples where I think the CDC is being far overly cautious in a way that defies common sense…. It just doesn’t make sense that you can’t travel especially if you now can get together with loved ones.”

—Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore Health Commissioner to Boston 25 News

Of course, I’ll follow masking and physical distancing guidelines and policies.

But let’s flashback to this gem from March 2, 2020:

Experts say the masks are primarily useful for keeping a sick person from spreading their illness with droplets from a cough or sneeze. Healthcare workers use the masks to cover their nose and mouth while dealing with sick patients, but the masks are typically ineffective when used throughout the day by members of the general public.

To be clear once again, officials say Americans don’t need masks. The CDC says that healthy people in the US shouldn’t wear them because they won’t protect them from the novel coronavirus. (Bold mine.)

From “Masks keep selling out, CDC keeps pleading with public not to buy them”

By Scottie Andrew and Jessie Yeung, CNN, Jason Sloss

Compare that to what the CDC now thinks:

Masks are a two-way street. Masks protect you and me. When we all wear masks, we take care of each other and everyone is protected. (Bold mine.)

From Masks Protect You & Me on the CDC website

I understand the CDC has a tough job and COVID-19 has spawned several variants. And I’m a fairly cautious person by nature. But if I wear a mask and have the vaccine, I’m traveling.

Final Approach

What do you think? For those who aren’t traveling right now and waiting for the vaccine, will you travel once you’re fully vaxxed? Or wait until the CDC tells you it’s OK?

Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!

Disclaimer: The author holds stock in Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax, and Pfizer.

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

76 Comments

  1. Well okay, then. Being a selfish jerk, sounds like you’re entitled to do what you wish, regardless of the health and well-being of others. Have fun.

    • Barry Graham Reply

      It doesn’t sound like that to me. What exactly was said that you objected to?

    • If I were the boogeyman you seem to think I am, I would’ve gone without masks and social distancing for the past year. Maybe attended some rallies, protests, and riots and tried to get sick —- just so I could expose everyone.

    • Wayne Johnson Reply

      I have asked on many occasions for all of you “follow the science” morons to link me to even ONE SCIENTIFIC STUDY that would show that either wearing a mask or “social distancing” is effective and I have NEVER gotten one response. NOT ONE. Why? Because there is no “scientific studies”. There is only “OPINIONS”. I will wear a mask and sometimes social distance when it is a requirement of a business, but as soon as I am not required to do either I will not do it. Many times a business will only require either when ordered to do so by the State.

    • I’ll be one of those other people traveling. No question about it. Immune to the virus and no able to pass it on to other people. Why would I *NOT* travel?

  2. I am pretty sure I’ll be up in the air again within a few weeks from my second dose for sure. That second dose is supposed to be today, so hopefully I can travel soon!

  3. I’m a healthcare worker. I’m fully vaccinated and have been since August when I was in the Pfizer trial. We flew to St Lucia in October and are going to Hawaii in two weeks. If you’re responsible and don’t act like a jerk, wear your mask, and be respectful, you’ll be fine.

  4. Barry Graham Reply

    It’s very troubling when the messages coming from the agency that is supposed to be offering expert guidance are based on the politics of the President.

    I not only will be traveling but I have been traveling, following social distancing guidelines, sending children to school and going out to pray daily (the most important behavior), and I have stayed COVID free for over a year.

  5. I’ve had the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. I miss traveling but am not chomping at the bit to get on an airplane right now. From what I’ve heard, air travel and travel in general just isn’t as much fun now. International travel is pretty limited, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through, China being the most ridiculous example. When more services are available generally and in airports and on planes, I’ll be more than happy to hop on a plane. It’s not about the CDC.

  6. The CDC can bite me. They’ve been talking out of both sides of their mouth since this trainwreck started. We’ve already increased our travel and when we get vaccinated(today!!) our travel will increase. A lot.
    Their current rant seems to imply almost never traveling until C19 vanishes. Sorry, not sorry(as you cleverly opined).
    For those out there who are uncomfortable traveling? Cool Stay home. The rest of us will live our lives.

    • 100% agree! These people are an absolute train wreck. Don’t wear a mask, wear a mask…they have lost all credibility and have become overly politicized. I have a sneaky suspicion these government agencies and local state/governments are going to dearly miss wielding their restrictive power on the populace. It’s all about them telling people what to do….they love the way that feels.

      • Right on! Do not let the man tell you to wear a mask! While you are at it and to really stick it to the man, do not wear seat belts either! Do let them limit your freedom in your vehicle. And do not allow them to track you – take off your license plates and throw them away!

    • Wayne Johnson Reply

      If a person is so afraid of others then STAY LOCKED UP AT HOME. The rest of us have lives to live and we will live them to the extent possible.

  7. They’ve done a ton of back pedaling on this..its silly. First one mask, then double up mask.. oh wait one mask..ok vaccinated can travel..wait.. only essential travel.. I have worked in microbiology for a long time dealing with infectious diseases departments etc.. politicians are not professionals, neither am I. But we do have common sense..use it 🙂 Just be safe when traveling.. that’s all I have to say. I’m sure we’ve all been exposed to it at one point or another over the past 13 months.

    • @Alex H – I doubt I have been exposed. I have not been in a store for over 8 months now and maybe only twice over the past year. Have not been on a jet for over a year. I am one week away from my 1st JAB and plan to fly in May as soon as I can 2 weeks past my second JAB! I can not wait.

    • Brian Schuh Reply

      Science was used as the reason for the restrictions, but once the CDC felt a sense of control they are finding it hard to give up that power. Their stay home mandate was to flatten the curve and ensure that the number of cases did not exceed the capacity of our health care system. This was particularly poignant early in the pandemic when hospitals in New York were running out of respirators. But now that the curve has not only flattened, but is in rapid decline, and there is no pressure on the heath care system capacity, they have not removed the mandate. It does make people question their motives when they say we are doing X because of the science surrounding Y, but when Y goes away they say we still are going to do X. We just don’t have the science to support it anymore, but we think its a good idea. That is what is happening with the vaccines. They talked herd immunity and vaccines as a point to lift all restrictions. Now they are waffling on the numbers for heard immunity, and we have a vaccine, but no talks on lifting the restrictions.

      Have a great time traveling to see loved ones Rene.

  8. if there is no need to travel what is the harm in delaying till we have more people vaccinated and less spread of the virus? I get it we want to travel and have fun but maybe waiting 3-6 or 9 months will allow more people to get vaccinated, virus spread to be reduced and then make travel fun again for everyone……

    • Wayne Johnson Reply

      I have waited to take a “road trip” until the last week of May. At that point I will no longer wear masks or social distance unless required to by a business that is following State orders. Not their own made up rules. The business will have the ability to make up their own rules and i will have the right to not support their business.

      • Jon Jackson Reply

        Nobody is questioning your right to be a selfish jerk, Wayne. We ARE questioning your ignorance, though. After a full year of this pandemic finding people who still insist on being clueless about the effectiveness of masks and distancing is very telling. I do believe you are impervious to evidence and will cling to your stubborn denial of science…and I sadly suspect it is driven by your politics, not a lack of intelligence. Just don’t be a hypocrite and take the vaccine.

  9. We are not the experts on this topic. The CDC is. Patience everyone. We should follow their advice. Let’s follow the science, not blogs.

    • @John – I don’t think Chris, I, or most blogs, are suggesting a “free for all” travel right away. I am going to take a trip, following all recommend precautions, to visit another family that has also had both JABs.

      I am not planning on international travel until Q4 of this year.

      • Barry Graham Reply

        The science stopped being followed once it was no longer convenient.

      • Wayne Johnson Reply

        A”blog written by a scientist” is just another persons OPINION. Not scientific certainty. Most scientists opinions are colored by their politics and nothing more.

  10. AlohaDaveKennedy Reply

    “It’s very troubling when the messages coming from the agency that is supposed to be offering expert guidance are based on the politics of the President.” Oh, say it ain’t so, Joe – the World Health Organization was against masks for all early on and the CDC followed the WHO, not necessarily the president.. Don’t blindly drink the Democrat Kool-Aid and see what WHO was saying back in 2020:

    “Using a mask can give a false sense of protection for healthy people,” WHO Representative to Indonesia, Dr N. Paranietharan says. “If you do not wear the mask properly, touch the mask with unwashed hands, or remove it incorrectly, you can actually place yourself at greater risk of inadvertently transmitting germs and making yourself or others sick.”

    There are four key points that everyone must know about who needs a mask:

    If you are healthy, you do not need to wear a mask, unless you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection.

    https://www.who.int/indonesia/news/detail/06-03-2020-media-statement-the-role-and-need-of-masks-during-covid-19-outbreak

    And since we are dealing with facts, the Jonestown victims actually drank Jel-Sert’s Flavor Aid according to surviving witnesses. Kool-Aid took a bum rap.

    • Barry Graham Reply

      “It’s very troubling when the messages coming from the agency that is supposed to be offering expert guidance are based on the politics of the President.”
      – Just to be clear, that wasn’t an endorsement of CDC’s current policies.

    • Wayne Johnson Reply

      Wearing a mask has become nothing more than an emotional response to the virus issue. I have already conceded that IF someone is infected AND that person sneezes/coughs directly on another person that a properly fitted mask MAY possibly help. I have not been sneezed/coughed on since this whole episode started. Even under the circumstance that I have cited there is certainly no guarantee that even then a mask will help.

  11. I couldn’t agree more with this article. Ive taken an international and a domestic trip during the pandemic and have at both times done extensive research regarding protocols in the locations, brought ample covid supplies (KN95s, hand sanitizer, wipes, etc). Reviewed hotels and places i planned to eat at on yelp for their covid reviews and that was all before I got my first shot. Now that i’m halfway towards my second shot I will 100% be traveling more once the 2 weeks are up. Still adhering to the same protocols as before I just dont get how they say its ok if you meet with others locally without mask since you have the shot but no traveling when air travel is suppose to be be responsible for nearly 0% of spread.

    While I have spent the last year being extremely vigilant in taking precautions and continue to do I feel that air travel has gotten a bad rap during covid even though its safer than most travel and as someone who WAH, lives alone and has no family within a thousand miles im ready to get back to visiting them and going on a trip.

  12. Non-vaccinated: Already visited 6 countries in 2021, flying today to #7.
    Visited 25 countries back in 2020, flying almost weekly.

    Easily the best travel year of my life.
    Fiancé and I are having so much fun.


    The CDC has been so wrong – all the ‘experts’ have kept busy peddling fear.
    I pity anyone who listens to these people anymore.

    The data is out there, the independent journalists are out there.
    Find them. The truth is there too.

    It’s not going to be found by government ‘experts’ and the front page of sleazy newspapers.

    I lost a lot of respect for citizens who just fell in line and followed orders here.

    Life is a lot more complex than hiding inside your house for a year waiting for some official to tell you it’s safe to travel.
    I’m not a prisoner, I’m a person. So, I’m making decisions for myself. And absolutely loving the last 2 years of constant travel.

    Best ever.

    • Some of the best memories of 2020 Covid travel – availability of airport parking and seats at the gate. The worst memories were the hotel’s brown bag breakfast, FA and GA barking out annoying mask and safe distancing reminders every 15 minutes, and corporate commercials trying to convince me that “we’re in this together.”

    • My husband and I are fully vaccinated and are traveling cross country by plane in May. One of our travel companions is a retired state health official. He’s also ok with it. We are seniors and will be vigilant about masking,distancing, etc. we’ve been isolated for a year and sometimes your mental health outweighs any minor risk.

      • Wayne Johnson Reply

        You are certainly allowed to do whatever makes you comfortable.

  13. A. Cardwell Reply

    You don’t see it but traveling (shared travel) for non-essential reasons is selfish. Soon everyone will be acting like that p.o.s. parent at Disney that thinks his vacation is more important than yours, but at everyday places. When this phase ends, and I’m vaxed, I’ll travel.

  14. And this is why America has such a high infection rate and death rate. Do Americans not give a crap about anyone else? Just because you’ve got the jab, doesn’t mean you can’t still spread the virus to those who are yet to get it or are unable to get it.

    Its also worth noting that advice can change depending on the situation and as our understanding of the virus changes. This doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy afoot, or the big bad government is trying to tell you what to do.

    There’s lots of factors that go into public advise, and yes that includes things like stock availability. Whats the point in causing mass panick trying to enforce mask wearing when there’s no stock available and the little stock that is available is needed for medical professionals.

    You only need to look at countries like Australia and New Zealand for example that have managed the virus correctly. We are living normal lives with no restrictions and free to travel domestically. I’d love for the rest of the world to get their [stuff] together, so at some point we can travel internationally again!

    • Barry Graham Reply

      Actually it almost certainly does mean that you can’t spread the virus if you are vaccinated.

    • If I didn’t give a crap about anyone, I wouldn’t have stayed home for the past 12+ months – despite some pretty amazing airfares. Nor would I have worn masks and socially distanced. 😉

  15. stacy jordan Reply

    I’m awaiting the J&J vaccine in my state as I do not like needles and two shots is just much for me. Once I do get the vaccine, I need to fly so I get the $$ to maintain PM for 2022.

  16. Mark Harrington Reply

    I’m a health care worker and I have been working in close proximity with patients since May. I am vaccinated and I’m flying tomorrow!

  17. Tony NZ and Australia small contained countries were able to shut down totally–socialist politics.. the people did not mind it but here we are larger and each state has their own rules(total lockdowns like Calif and NY and open like Florida) The west coast never stopped flights to china including Wuhan… but shut schools and sheltered in place forever..now letting untested illegals cross the border.. NZ and Australia do not allow illegal entry just like so many other countries except the new regime in the US so let of a problem….

  18. Kevin LeCavalier Reply

    Sorry not sorry…really? How selfish are you? It is simple minded comments like yours with this crazy statement, that is exactly why the recommendation from the CDC scientists should be follow. You are a great, but miss-informed travel specialist. I have followed and enjoyed Renee for years. I accept we must recognize when change occurs, as is such when he sold this site to you, that different voices will emerge. Yet your guidance when reckless, should be avoided at a minimum, and most logically be retracted.

    • I’ll make sure René sees your kind comment.

      What guidance did I give in the post? Much less guidance that’s reckless? I simply stated my position and plans and backed them up. I didn’t tell anyone “Here’s what YOU should do and why.” So there’s nothing to retract. It sounds as though you think I’m fairly reckless — so if there are some examples you’d like to point out, I’m all for reasonable, constructive criticism.

  19. Kevin LeCavalier Reply

    Chris…that is the whole point that you obviously don’t grasp. You have a bully pulpit here, and as you are clearly aware, people on look at the top line and don’t dive deeper. You simply should not be sharing such a gross exaggeration of the simple fact that we should not be traveling yet. Your correct, I do think your reckless. Constructive criticism is easy.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

    There is a difference in this post from the CDC of if you want to travel verses MUST travel. Where does your arrogance fall? I’m vaccinated so to heck with everyone else? What if your in the small percentage of folks that are a-symptomatic and have a strain that isn’t protected yet you travel because your “safe”? How wise is that?

    Your post is all about what you will do, but it’s inference is sounding a very large dog Whitley that all others should be safe in following. And don’t bother notifying Renee, I will email him personally.

    • Dave the knave Reply

      Kevin –
      Please define who must travel in a pandemic. Thanks.

    • No offense intended but I read this blog for travel tips not medical or any other advice. No one on this thread influences my decisions. Life is greater when we act upon it vs. allow life/others to act upon us.

      • Barry Graham Reply

        That’s good. The reason we are where we are now is because so many people do base their life decisions on what others say and think, regardless of whether it’s rational or true.

  20. I’ve traveled on planes monthly since June and lived my life traveling all across the U.S.- it’s been great! I get tested before every trip and 2x after before seeing anyone. Everyone can live their lives, just exercise basic precautions!

  21. Joe Chivas Reply

    Shame on you Chris. Shame on all of you. Stay home, stay safe, save lives. #FlattenTheCurve

    • Barry Graham Reply

      So inappropriate. And if we’re still trying to flatten the curve then we’re in big trouble.

      • Brian Schuh Reply

        Actually, since the # of cases has been dropping steadily, in order for us to “Flatten the curve” as Joe suggests, we would have to increase the # of Covid Cases to prevent it from dropping further. (Sorry Joe Chivas, but “Flatten the curve” is a bad argument when the number of cases are decreasing.”

    • More like flatten the economy, spike unemployment and national debt and destroy main street USA.

    • I will if you will. But I bet you’ve been outside your home many times since last year. You are a hypocrite.

  22. Kevin LeCavalier Reply

    Trust the science not the hyperbole from Chris’s comments. Don’t travel until the CDC says it’s safe. Why have 500K+ thousand deaths occurred in the USA? It’s because we are ignoring our own scientists and their expertise. Stay home. Period. End of story.

    • Kevin will promise that you will not leave your house without a mask til covid is gone from the Earth? Think about it.

  23. Worldtraveler Reply

    I couldn’t agree with you more. We have all put our lives at risk Ans on hold waiting for these vaccines. Well their available and if I follow the science this is our answer to returning to normal. If I’m less of a threat why can’t I take ona more normal approach with my traveling while continue to adhere to safety messages. Life goes on and travel and tourism is a needed sector of our economy. Nothing selfish about that at all!

  24. Dave Edwards Reply

    Vaccine? Many of us have been flying from the start of this. I personally flew over 70,000 miles last year, enjoyed new areas of the country like South Dakota that wanted business. And I supported small businesses in those areas. And many Americans did the same. Start living and stop letting political groups tell you how to live your life.

  25. Just lol @ being a willing guinea pig for a vaccine you have no idea what its long term effects are. There’s a reason why the media underreports vaccine deaths and [peddles] stories of anti masker went into a grocery store with no mask on ouch. Good luck on your vegetable goals 2021 and beyond after taking it.

    I’ve taken a few trips (omg I’m such a jerk) but my biggest frustrations are all the cost cutting and closures at the hotels. So even by going somewhere what chit can I do?
    I also work in an office of 10 people. We never closed during the “lockdowns” and none of us wear masks. We still work in an environment as if the CCP VIRUS never existed. You mirin?

    Trust the science boyos 2 more weeks till 2 more weeks till 2 more decades.

  26. EdSparks58 Reply

    I am always amazed at the “Follow the Science” crowd, no matter which side of the aisle they happen to be on.

    Here is a very good one: Over the past several weeks, there have been several insightful analyses published, and a great review by an Associated Press (AP is a very liberal media source) writer named David Lieb (you can find many of these online). The conclusion: LOCKDOWNS DON’T WORK !! For example, California (which went bonkers with lockdowns and restrictions) and Florida (where the news media chastised and tried to castrate the Republic Governor DeSantis) have had almost identical case rates (cases per 100,00 people). And Connecticut (locked down everything they could lock down) and South Dakota (their Republican Governor Noem has been endlessly badmouthed by the media) had nearly identical death rates (deaths per 100,000 residents).

    The science says that lockdowns don’t work. Oh, they work. For a little bit. And then the disease roars back. Ummm, just look at Italy. Or the UK. And the list goes on. All had near total lockdowns, and poor Italy (and Germany, and Spain, and ….. are entering yet another).

    Sorry. The science for “hiding in the closet” is less than convincing.

    So what DOES work???

    Well, look at Taiwan. And even China (yes, China went through a Hell-on-Earth lockdown, but only once). There have been very few deaths in either place (once China got past their Wuhan disaster).

    So what did they do that was so different, because Taiwan NEVER had a lockdown, and has minimal mask usage. THEY DID WHAT WE ALWAYS DO IN PUBLIC HEALTH !! You test. And you test test test test test. You find the infected (especially if they are asymptomatic) person or people. And you quarantine that person, or those people. And then you contact trace.

    This is true in Public Health for tuberculosis. And syphilis. And measles. And other diseases. You test test test test test. And quarantine. And contact trace and contact trace.

    This is how public health works. I am a physician, but not involved in the Public Health Department (I am in oncology). But I am very aware of good public health practices.

    And rarely does “lockdown, lockdown, lockdown”, or “hide in the closet” work.

    This “no flying CDC nonsense is, well, NONSENSE. Test people. And quarantine the infected people. And contact trace to test and identify others. But stop destroying businesses and companies, and depriving people of travel and dining and other parts of life when there is no proven benefit. Otherwise, a state filled with old people (Florida) that was mostly open should have had a case rate and death rate that was MANY times that of California. But it didn’t.

    EdSparks58

  27. Hi Chris. Love your post. Mark my words, every one of the people criticizing you in the comments will be back on a plane in the next year and I guarantee they’ve definitely been outside their front door since one year ago when this plandemic started. Anyone who is limiting their life because of these morons deserve the state they are in. Bravo to you for following the actual science and blowing off the people who just want you and me to be miserable – while they don’t even practice what they preach (Cuomo, Pelosi, etc)

  28. Got the second shot 1 month ago and just got back from Maui. We are now making plans for Bosnia.

    You have to love the internet, the outrageous statements fueled by emotion and anonymity are fun to read.

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