What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and travel

Posted at 6:57 AM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 07:00:51-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Pretty much everyone not only wants but needs a vacation. But how safe is it to travel? What changes if you've received the COVID-19 vaccine?

"Travel carries an increased risk of getting infected with the new coronavirus. Obviously, no one wants to get infected for a variety of reasons," Dr. Thomas Russo, professor and chief of infectious disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, said.

If you travel to one of these states, you do not have to quarantine:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont

If you travel to any other states for longer than 24 hours, you must quarantine for 10 days. You can test out of quarantine by getting a COVID-19 test three days prior to returning to New York. Upon arriving in New York, you must quarantine for three days, and then test negative for COVID-19 again. This is a requirement whether you've been vaccinated or not.

"The reasoning behind needing to quarantine or to test out of quarantine after travel outside New York State, is because we still don't know if you've been vaccinated whether you can become asymptomatically infected therefore potentially infect others," Dr. Russo said.

While you do still have to quarantine whether you've been vaccinated or not, if you are vaccinated, you can worry less about contracting COVID-19 while traveling.

"The other side of the coin, if you're vaccinated, you personally are almost certainly not going to get serious disease and you're going to be safe. You're going to be more relaxed. It's really more about protecting others. Vaccination is not going to be perfect but all of this quarantine and testing if you've been vaccinated is about protecting other individuals," Dr. Russo said.

For New York's full quarantine guidelines,click here.