Kentucky is no longer asking its citizens to avoid domestic travel — as long as they’re fully vaccinated.
Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that “fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, and we are no longer dissuading domestic travel.”
This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance Friday saying “fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves.”
A fully vaccinated person is one who has gone two weeks after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
“If you are vaccinated, Kentucky is no longer asking or advising you to limit domestic travel,” Beshear said. However: “You still need to wear your mask, you’d still need to follow all the protocols.”
Still, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, Dr. Steven Stack, said traveling when you’re fully vaccinated comes with “a higher degree of confidence that you will remain safe and your loved ones will remain safe.”
Per the CDC, “fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and potentially less likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others” but “vaccinated people could potentially still get COVID-19 and spread it to others.”
About 20% of Kentucky’s population has been fully vaccinated, with around 33% having received at least 1 dose of a two-dose series. The state has administered about 1,438,557 doses.
The vaccines used in the U.S. are believed to provide protection against the emerging COVID-19 variants. Kentucky now has 83 identified cases of the B117 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom.
“The most important thing is that we all need to get vaccinated as soon as we can so that fewer variants have the opportunity to form,” Stack said, “because if we allow it to continue to spread randomly, it’s just a matter of time before different combinations occur that have more negative impacts.”
Anyone 16 and older is now eligible to sign up for vaccines in Kentucky. It’s not clear how many people need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity against COVID-19, but officials have said getting to 75% to 85% of the population is ideal.
The CDC still advises that unvaccinated people not travel. If they do, they should get tested for COVID one to three days before domestic travel and again 3 to 5 days afterward and should self-quarantine for at least seven days after traveling.
Reach news reporter Sarah Ladd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ladd_sarah.