CDC releases updated COVID-19 travel guidance for holiday season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidance ahead of the holidays that encouraged people to get their COVID-19 shot before gathering and wear a mask in some cases regardless of vaccination status.

“CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated,” the agency said, which is encouraging masks be worn in transit. “We fully expect that families and friends will gather for the holidays this year and we have updated our guidance on how to best to stay safe over the holidays,” the CDC wrote in a statement. “The best way to minimize COVID risk and ensure that people can safely gather is to get vaccinated or get the booster if you’re eligible.”

Fully vaccinated Americans who are traveling with unvaccinated people, such as children, are recommended to avoid crowds, stay six feet apart from anyone not in their travel party and to frequently wash hands or sanitize. “Holiday traditions are important for families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health,” the CDC writes. “Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.”

There was some initial confusion when the CDC posted guidance to its 2021 holiday page only to remove it hours later. The agency later stated it has been posted in error and was based on guidance last year from before vaccines were widely available. It had previously recommended virtual gatherings, increasing ventilation at indoor meeting by opening windows or gathering outdoors.

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