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CDC hits brakes on holiday travel, saying vaccination is the ticket to safe travels

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released holiday travel guidance, saying you should celebrate the holidays virtually, with people who live with you or at least six feet apart.

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Getting vaccinated when eligible.
  • Wearing a mask when necessary.
  • Choosing outdoor over indoor gatherings.
  • Staying home and isolated if you’re sick.
  • Opening a door or window if celebrating inside, allowing the space to air out.

Jordi Shelton with the Central Shenandoah Health District says the CDC has put this reminder out now, so people have time to get vaccinated.

“You have plenty of time right now to get both doses of Pfizer or Moderna or your one dose of Johnson & Johnson and be fully vaccinated in time for the thanksgiving holiday,” Shelton said.

Shelton says it’s best to opt for virtual gatherings if the whole group isn’t vaccinated or if some people are immunocompromised. She says the CDC’s new guidance will keep people safe and healthy going into the new year.

“We did see a really significant spike in cases last winter, and we want to avoid that happening this year,” Shelton said.

Heather Ream with the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) says they’re expecting more holiday travelers this year.

“I think as more people are vaccinated they’re feeling more comfortable with travel certainly, so I think we’ll see more travel this year over last year,” Ream said.

Ream says more people are choosing smaller airports like SHD because they have more space to socially distance.

“People have been looking for some holiday travel, even with a little bit of the unknowns with the delta variant,” Ream said, noting July 2021 was their best month ever.

Shelton says there doesn’t have to be a large spike in COVID-19 cases due to holiday travel.

“Fortunately, we do have vaccines that help prevent that from happening. The really important piece of the puzzle outside of vaccinations is going to be that folks are taking into consideration these other mitigation measures,” Shelton said.

The Pfizer vaccines must be spaced at least 28 days apart, and Moderna vaccines are spaced 21 days apart. Two weeks after the second dose, a person is considered fully vaccinated.

Two weeks after the single Johnson & Johnson dose, a person is fully vaccinated.

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