What Does USA Vaccine Timeline Mean For Travel?

What Does USA Vaccine Timeline Mean For Travel?

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With President Biden’s latest update on the timeline for vaccine distribution in the US, I wanted to talk about what that means for travel. I’ll share my take, noting of course that I’m not a doctor, scientist, or anything other than a guy who likes planes and travel.

USA will have enough vaccines for everyone by May

In the past week or so we’ve received some encouraging news about the vaccine timeline in the United States:

  • On March 2, Biden promised that the US will have enough vaccines for every American adult by the end of May 2021; previously the goal was to have enough vaccines by the end of July, so that’s a two month improvement on the timeline
  • On March 11, Biden instructed states to make all adults eligible for vaccines by May 1, 2021

All of this follows the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine getting approved, and also news that Merck will team up with Johnson & Johnson on production, to get vaccines out even sooner. It’s such exciting news to think that in just several weeks, all American adults will be eligible for vaccination.

Now, before we talk about the implications of this, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Just because states will open vaccines to all adults by May 1 doesn’t mean all adults will easily be able to find appointments; expect this to initially be harder than finding a Qantas first class award seat from Los Angeles to Sydney on December 20
  • Just because the US expects to have enough vaccines for all American adults by the end of May doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be distributed optimally across the board
  • It can take up to six weeks from when you get your first shot until you have maximum immunity; obviously the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the quickest, while with the Moderna vaccine there are four weeks between doses

A few more things, beyond that:

  • This distribution timeline isn’t set in stone, so I wouldn’t bet any money on this
  • Hopefully coronavirus doesn’t throw us some major curveball in terms of a new strain that vaccines don’t work against, etc.
  • Children aren’t being vaccinated with this timeline, so those with children are in a different situation when it comes to travel, especially for destinations that open up exclusively to vaccinated travelers

Expect a lot of domestic travel opportunities this summer

Does that mean life goes back to normal?

I’m including this section not because I have any particular insights here, but rather because I’d like to hear how you guys feel about this. Biden hopes for somewhat of a return to normal by July 4:

“If we do this together, by 4 July, there is a good chance you, your family and friends can get together in your backyard or in your neighbourhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day. After a long, hard year, that will make this Independence Day truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.”

Bigger picture:

  • Once everyone who wants to get vaccinated has been vaccinated it seems like things should mostly return to normal in the US
  • I’ll be curious to see how quickly mask mandates (including on planes) and other restrictions are lifted
  • Even if things go fully back to normal I’m not sure my behavior ever will, because it has been quite glorious to not even get a minor cold once in the past year — for example, I’m not sure I can ever fully look at indoor dining, gyms, direct contact with others, etc., the same way

Will indoor dining ever be the same?

What does the vaccine timeline mean for travel?

It sounds like within a few months people should be able to travel in the US in a safe and guilt-free way. If you’re someone who has been hesitant to travel during the pandemic, is this finally the light at the end of tunnel that should lead to travel planning for the summer? Yes, I would say so, though only for domestic travel, as well as international destinations that are currently open to tourists. Furthermore, I’d only make refundable plans as of now.

I think international travel will still be complicated for a while, especially if the US is one of the first large countries to roll out vaccinations to this extent. So many people seem to think “oh, well when I’m vaccinated I’ll be allowed into any country, right?” Unfortunately don’t expect that to be the case:

  • When it comes to travel it’s not just about getting people vaccinated, but about being able to prove that people are vaccinated in a way that’s accepted internationally (this “digital vaccine passport” concept isn’t as straightforward as many may assume)
  • Even if you’re vaccinated you may still have to constantly undergo coronavirus tests when traveling, since destinations with testing requirements typically don’t waive them for those who have been vaccinated; fortunately early data suggests that vaccines are highly effective against asymptomatic infection, so that’s great news
  • In many cases destinations are choosing not to adjust their rules unless a majority of residents are vaccinated; for example, Phuket is highly reliant on tourists, but it has been announced that it may only open to vaccinated travelers as of October, when a majority of Phuket residents have been vaccinated
  • This is purely speculation on my part, but personally I’d be surprised if the European Union entirely opens to Americans before late summer (it could be earlier, but I just don’t see it happening based on the vaccine timeline over there); Greece claims it’s opening to all in mid-May, but I’m skeptical
  • Then there’s the question of how long vaccines are effective; for example, many places that are waiving requirements for vaccinated people are only doing so for 90 days; only time will tell whether this is just due to lack of information at this point, if booster shots are required, or what

Don’t expect to travel to Australia in 2021

CDC telling vaccinated people not to travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued updated guidance for those who have been vaccinated, which is largely good news. For example, fully vaccinated people can now meet indoors and maskless with other vaccinated people.

Interestingly the CDC is still recommending against travel for vaccinated people:

“Because of the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 during travel, fully vaccinated people should still take all CDC-recommended precautions before, during, and after travel. While we work to vaccinate more people, prevention measures such as pre- and post-travel testing and post-travel self-quarantine, along with wearing well-fitted masks, will help us prevent spread of COVID-19.”

All the data I’ve seen suggests that the vaccines are highly effective against asymptomatic infection, and therefore one would logically think that travel would be okay.

So what’s the logic for this?

  • Presumably the CDC is very much erring on the side of caution, concerned that people will take a trip a day after getting vaccinated
  • Admittedly the data so far is fairly limited, given how new all of this is
  • It seems like the CDC just wants to get through the next couple of months of mass vaccinations, hoping that encouraging everyone to stay put gets us closer to the finish line

I obviously can’t speak to the science here, but assuming we believe the data we’ve seen so far (because, you know, we believe science), I can speak to the marketing of it. I feel like this is all a balance — on some level it creates distrust when health authorities err on the side of caution to the point that it goes against logic, even if the intentions are good. This is especially true among the anti-vaccine anti-mask crowd, who will probably see this and then say “well why should I get vaccinated then?”

Should vaccinated people really not travel?

Bottom line

It’s exciting to think in less than two months all American adults will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine, and that by the end of May there will be enough vaccines for all American adults. Hopefully that ushers in a return to normal in the US, both with travel and everyday life.

Personally I wouldn’t be too optimistic about immediate international travel, though. The places that are already open will likely remain open, while I wouldn’t expect other borders to necessarily open right away, even for vaccinated travelers. But here’s to hoping for a great July 4th…

With the new vaccination timeline, what’s your expectation of how life & travel will change in the coming months?

Conversations (113)
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  1. Alan

    @Mauricio

    Several individuals from the scientific community have even called for a halt to vaccinations for the reason you mentioned. I just wish they would focus on a cure. Playing whack a mole with vaccines is not a good long term solution.

  2. Mauricio

    Cases are decreasing in most parts of the country, but they are still high. The mix of high case counts and growing vaccination levels makes an epidemiological soup that is primed to breed new variants that are resistant to the vaccines. We definitely don’t need that hurdle at the end of the race, so please keep taking care to protect yourself and your loved ones.

  3. Alan

    @Simon
    Given that quarantines have never been enforced, this means essentially nothing. I saw another similar article saying it was safe to travel but you should still wear a mask in public, avoid crowds, social distance, and wash ur hands. Sounds like nothing has changed. In my case I feel much safer around people who have had covid than someone who has only been vaccinated.

  4. Simon

    https://apnews.com/article/cdc-fully-vaccinated-travel-no-quarantine-domestic-us-a657a7e7d12fff68531c5ff0e08ad717

  5. Mayank

    I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen. The reality is that most Americans won’t be vaccinated for atleast 5-6 weeks after May 1 femur to supply & demand issues. Plus, I don’t trust other countries like in Europe where people are getting the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is only 62.1% effective & we have seen countries like UK having a lower percentage of population interested in vaccinations versus the US. The reality is that...

    I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen. The reality is that most Americans won’t be vaccinated for atleast 5-6 weeks after May 1 femur to supply & demand issues. Plus, I don’t trust other countries like in Europe where people are getting the Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is only 62.1% effective & we have seen countries like UK having a lower percentage of population interested in vaccinations versus the US. The reality is that these restrictions will need to stay in place for another year or so. If they aren’t, we’ll see a massive wave of leisure travel for a month, massive spikes in covid, complete closure AGAIN & a complete overhaul of the reopening process which will take another 9-12 months

  6. David

    @Jay - Aborting a baby would be murder. Did you mean to say "fetus"?

  7. Mark

    Why are people that are scared of COVID even traveling or getting on a plane or eating in restaurants? If you don’t want to be around people not wearing masks, then maybe you should avoid planes and restaurants and theaters and sporting events and let people who aren’t concerned enjoy them?

  8. Philip Elliott

    Alan asks about NZ, Taiwan and Australia staying with borders closed. Each of these countries is inconsequential to tourism in USA. So there would be little or no economic effect on the USA no matter what happens. USA gets far more tourists from China than from Taiwan, NZ and Australia combined. Alan, look at China. We are nothing to you. Forget about us. Canada, Europe, Japan, S Korea and China are places to look. They...

    Alan asks about NZ, Taiwan and Australia staying with borders closed. Each of these countries is inconsequential to tourism in USA. So there would be little or no economic effect on the USA no matter what happens. USA gets far more tourists from China than from Taiwan, NZ and Australia combined. Alan, look at China. We are nothing to you. Forget about us. Canada, Europe, Japan, S Korea and China are places to look. They are the USA tourism markets which used to bring in the $$$. We used to buy civil aircraft from the USA, but that was in a bygone era. Down here, we are having a resources boom. Money is flooding in. GDP is now better than before covid19. My partner asked me yesterday that he had a few hundred thousand (dollars, not points) in his current account and wondering what to buy next. Things changed with covid19. Hope this answers your question.

  9. Philip

    Alan asks about NZ, Taiwan and Australia staying with borders closed. Each of these countries is inconsequential to tourism in USA. So there would be little or no economic effect on the USA no matter what happens.
    USA gets far more tourists from China than from Taiwan, NZ and Australia combined. Alan, look at China. We are nothing to you. Forget about us. Canada, Europe, Japan, S Korea and China are places to look....

    Alan asks about NZ, Taiwan and Australia staying with borders closed. Each of these countries is inconsequential to tourism in USA. So there would be little or no economic effect on the USA no matter what happens.
    USA gets far more tourists from China than from Taiwan, NZ and Australia combined. Alan, look at China. We are nothing to you. Forget about us. Canada, Europe, Japan, S Korea and China are places to look. They are the USA tourism markets which used to bring in the $$$.
    We used to buy civil aircraft from the USA, but that was in a bygone era.
    Down here, we are having a resources boom. Money is flooding in. GDP is now better than before covid19. My partner asked me yesterday that he had a few hundred thousand (dollars, not points) in his current account and wondering what to buy next. Things changed with covid19. Hope this answers your question.

  10. Independent

    @Malc

    Overall much of the reason foreigners in some countries, primarily in Europe, had a negative view of Trump was due to his portrayal in the media biased against him. You must remember that it is Trump's administration that actually is responsible for the vaccine. I do not believe that the vaccination avoidance will be that much of a problem. Many Americans were hesitant initially but as they see more and more people vaccinated without...

    @Malc

    Overall much of the reason foreigners in some countries, primarily in Europe, had a negative view of Trump was due to his portrayal in the media biased against him. You must remember that it is Trump's administration that actually is responsible for the vaccine. I do not believe that the vaccination avoidance will be that much of a problem. Many Americans were hesitant initially but as they see more and more people vaccinated without adverse affects, they too will join the crowd. Europeans on the other hand are facing a grave problem with their choice of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. I have German friends that would like to be vaccinated but are rejecting Astra. I wonder if the same is true in other European countries.

    As for countries where Trump was actually liked, you might be surprised when I mention Mexico. Just today Mexico's president said that he worked better with Trump than Biden; he was referring to the immigrant problem at the border. India was another country where Trump had many supporters.

  11. Malc

    I'm curious what role people think vaccination avoidance will play in future outcomes. Especially with the popularity of Trump, foreigners tend to think there must be a sizeable percentage of the American population who are, for want of another word, crazy. The number of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists must be very high, so how much would this affect overall immunity?

    I know that there are some Trump supporters who read this blog, and I...

    I'm curious what role people think vaccination avoidance will play in future outcomes. Especially with the popularity of Trump, foreigners tend to think there must be a sizeable percentage of the American population who are, for want of another word, crazy. The number of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists must be very high, so how much would this affect overall immunity?

    I know that there are some Trump supporters who read this blog, and I am actually sorry for offending them, but I have just described how most foreigners I know describe America. So I'm curious how Americans themselves assess the scale of this issue.

  12. john

    As much as I like traveling, I think this pandemic and the continued (maybe indefinite) restrictions and discouragement of travel and gatherings (even with vaccinations) lends itself to a rethinking of our economies.

    Maybe we could make a future where the economy is not as dependent on people traveling and spending their money? An economy that rewards people that are wise with their cash and have big savings?

  13. Alan

    How are those countries that have relied upon zero cases as the solution (Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, etc) going to ever reopen? Even if we assume the vaccine is 95% effective, that still means that up to 5% of those traveling could still be infected. We already also know that tests are not 100% reliable so quarantine will still be needed to protect against those 5% which undoubtedly is higher in the real world due to new variants.

  14. Adam

    I work at AirFrance JFK and am fully vaccinated over 2 weeks with Moderna. It feels great. I also have a European passport so I’m taking 2 weeks off to go skiing in Switzerland. I’m fortunate. Anyway while many of my colleagues were I initially against getting the vax I sense the resistance is weakening. For many of us we have full on exposure everyday. Passengers often arrive to fly with a positive test, unsuspecting...

    I work at AirFrance JFK and am fully vaccinated over 2 weeks with Moderna. It feels great. I also have a European passport so I’m taking 2 weeks off to go skiing in Switzerland. I’m fortunate. Anyway while many of my colleagues were I initially against getting the vax I sense the resistance is weakening. For many of us we have full on exposure everyday. Passengers often arrive to fly with a positive test, unsuspecting or not. I am feeling really good that America is on the right track god bless!

  15. Bill

    Maybe access is a problem where others live. I live in a suburban Florida county. My age group 60-64 becomes eligible for vaccine on Monday. I made an appointment today for Tuesday. Something is working here.
    The real issue I believe is getting to the 85% give or take number for herd immunity. No vaccine is approved for under 16 which is about 20% of the US population. So 80% max. Then subtract those...

    Maybe access is a problem where others live. I live in a suburban Florida county. My age group 60-64 becomes eligible for vaccine on Monday. I made an appointment today for Tuesday. Something is working here.
    The real issue I believe is getting to the 85% give or take number for herd immunity. No vaccine is approved for under 16 which is about 20% of the US population. So 80% max. Then subtract those who will not take a vaccine. Not sure how this turns out.
    I’m mildly amused at the people who complain about their rights if a business requires a mask to be worn but don’t complain that they are required to wear shoes. Explain that to me.

  16. Philip Elliott

    Probably just like after 9/11 we will have strong restrictions on how we travel for quite some time. We learnt how to travel again then after a period of fear. This process might take years though.
    I'm surprised that vaccinations get such airplay as if they answer to our prayers. As Ben mentioned, we may never look at gyms and indoor dining the same way. We may want to be a bit further distant...

    Probably just like after 9/11 we will have strong restrictions on how we travel for quite some time. We learnt how to travel again then after a period of fear. This process might take years though.
    I'm surprised that vaccinations get such airplay as if they answer to our prayers. As Ben mentioned, we may never look at gyms and indoor dining the same way. We may want to be a bit further distant . Vaccines are an important mitigation tool, but not the end game.
    Interesting, my virus medication shares went up again 20% yesterday, so the smart money isn't relying on vaccines alone. People are still going to get sick and in hospital...

  17. Andrew

    Traveller - thanks for the links. For the record, I don't dig "left" media... most journalism these days is lacking. I thought that article was insufficient for quoting the archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as Roman Catholic leaders in St Louis - like, nobody has a name. Seriously, and there was no primary quotes, links to sources or interview citations. Crap journalism, but that's the age we live in.

    Back to Jay's position: "all...

    Traveller - thanks for the links. For the record, I don't dig "left" media... most journalism these days is lacking. I thought that article was insufficient for quoting the archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as Roman Catholic leaders in St Louis - like, nobody has a name. Seriously, and there was no primary quotes, links to sources or interview citations. Crap journalism, but that's the age we live in.

    Back to Jay's position: "all three vaccines have used stem cells from aborted babies either for testing or production"

    I am not seeing evidence that it is used in production for any vaccine. Mysterious sources just indicated JnJ had different stem lines for the development process. While the Catholic Church is split on JnJ vs the first two approved under EUA, in one way or another, they want their parishioners to survive.

  18. beachmouse

    We'll hit presumed immunity from our vaccines in mid-April and I'm now trying to map out a domestic summer travel plan. The 'top tier' US National Parks are going to be slammed to epic levels so I'm not even considering Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, or the like and am researching natural beauty areas that are a little less well known. Maybe a couple weeks in Colorado in July, maybe Arizona in May before it gets too...

    We'll hit presumed immunity from our vaccines in mid-April and I'm now trying to map out a domestic summer travel plan. The 'top tier' US National Parks are going to be slammed to epic levels so I'm not even considering Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, or the like and am researching natural beauty areas that are a little less well known. Maybe a couple weeks in Colorado in July, maybe Arizona in May before it gets too hot. I'd like to do the mostly New Mexico trip that had been planned for June 2020 but that state has taken a stricter approach to covid control than their neighbors so maybe not the best option this year either.

  19. Max

    Praise God Emperor Trump for Operation Warp Speed!

    All of Europe is jealously looking at this accomplishment by him.

  20. Alan

    @ George Romey

    So right you are!

    "There are too many moving parts and too many special interests like the media and online shopping (primarily Amazon) that are profiting off the entire fiasco"

    I wonder how many of those stimulus checks and child credits will end up directly in Bezo's hands.

  21. George N Romey

    International and business travel are going to remain dead for 2021, possibly even for a few years. There are too many moving parts and too many special interests like the media and online shopping (primarily Amazon) that are profiting off the entire fiasco. Add into the mix politicians using it as political football and anyone that thinks they know the how and the when of the end game is just "theorizing."

    Not one shred of...

    International and business travel are going to remain dead for 2021, possibly even for a few years. There are too many moving parts and too many special interests like the media and online shopping (primarily Amazon) that are profiting off the entire fiasco. Add into the mix politicians using it as political football and anyone that thinks they know the how and the when of the end game is just "theorizing."

    Not one shred of common sense in all of this and an approach that has never been seen in medical history.

  22. Traveller

    @Andrew - Is the Guardian a reliable source for you? Is that left-wing enough for you to accept?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/02/new-orleans-archdiocese-catholics-avoid-johnson-johnson-vaccine

    "Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine subsidiary Janssen used PER.C6 cells, a proprietary cell line derived from aborted tissue in 1985."

    As far as Pfizer/Moderna, they used fetal cell line HEK 293 in the confirmation/testing phase. All HEK 293 cells are descended from tissue taken from a 1973 elective abortion that also took place in the Netherlands.

    ...

    @Andrew - Is the Guardian a reliable source for you? Is that left-wing enough for you to accept?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/02/new-orleans-archdiocese-catholics-avoid-johnson-johnson-vaccine

    "Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine subsidiary Janssen used PER.C6 cells, a proprietary cell line derived from aborted tissue in 1985."

    As far as Pfizer/Moderna, they used fetal cell line HEK 293 in the confirmation/testing phase. All HEK 293 cells are descended from tissue taken from a 1973 elective abortion that also took place in the Netherlands.

    Is this flyer from the Louisiana Department of Health acceptable? https://ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Center-PHCH/Center-PH/immunizations/You_Have_Qs_COVID-19_Vaccine_FAQ.pdf

  23. mike

    no country will accept USA vaccine cards... you can buy that card on Amazon if you want.

  24. Andrew

    @ Traveller - You also didn't list sources - thanks for not raising the bar. I am looking at this site: https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/you-asked-we-answered-do-the-covid-19-vaccines-contain-aborted-fetal-cells. (tl;dr: Yes on fetal. No abortion.)

    We have some questionable source (Catholic News) that talks about 4 unnamed physicians who don't appear involved in the development but state that the stem cells come from abortions in the testing phase. (https://www.catholicnews.com/pro-life-physician-led-groups-weigh-in-on-development-of-covid-19-vaccines/) Interestingly, they think that the benefits outweigh the cons, and recommend that their...

    @ Traveller - You also didn't list sources - thanks for not raising the bar. I am looking at this site: https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/you-asked-we-answered-do-the-covid-19-vaccines-contain-aborted-fetal-cells. (tl;dr: Yes on fetal. No abortion.)

    We have some questionable source (Catholic News) that talks about 4 unnamed physicians who don't appear involved in the development but state that the stem cells come from abortions in the testing phase. (https://www.catholicnews.com/pro-life-physician-led-groups-weigh-in-on-development-of-covid-19-vaccines/) Interestingly, they think that the benefits outweigh the cons, and recommend that their worshipers get vaccinated.

    Both of those conflicts with Pfizer's overriding policy of only using adult stem cells: https://www.pfizer.com/science/clinical-trials/integrity-transparency/stem-cellresearch

    So from my reading: maybe fetal cells. Probably not from abortions, since there is no reliable source on that. But either way, get vaccinated.

    If you have a more compelling case, please don't be lazy. :P

  25. Brown

    “Expect this to initially be harder than finding a Qantas first class award seat from Los Angeles to Sydney on December 20”

    Damn haha, couldn’t have picked a better analogy for this

  26. Phillip

    We already know that the vaccines are not all effective against variants - that curveball is already in the mix, which is why vaccination in and of itself is not the end of all problems. It will hopefully help get us out of a pandemic and reduce deaths but there’s more work to be done. And we also know that immunity is unlikely to be long lasting.

  27. Bill

    "When it comes to travel it’s not just about getting people vaccinated, but about being able to prove that people are vaccinated in a way that’s accepted internationally (this “digital vaccine passport” concept isn’t as straightforward as many may assume)"

    You would think the government would have implemented the digital passport thing already. I'm really not sure what kind of central tracking they have done on people who have been vaccinated but it is...

    "When it comes to travel it’s not just about getting people vaccinated, but about being able to prove that people are vaccinated in a way that’s accepted internationally (this “digital vaccine passport” concept isn’t as straightforward as many may assume)"

    You would think the government would have implemented the digital passport thing already. I'm really not sure what kind of central tracking they have done on people who have been vaccinated but it is a missed opportunity if they don't have this setup in a way that people can easily be verified as having been vaccinated.

    Also, other countries are not likely to warmly welcome the US. COVID will continue to rage here through 2021. There are too many people who will pass on the vaccine and so the virus will not go away and many countries will simply look at US covid numbers and block americans even if they have the vaccine at least in the near term. Only way things go back to normal is if everyone gets vaccinated we we can really minimize this virus. Until then we will still be viewed as an international joke when it comes to the pandemic.

  28. Alan

    @ChrisC

    Given that the long term effectiveness of the vaccine and its ability to prevent infection from the latest and certainly variants to come is unknown, the scientific community really needs to focus on finding a cure. Previous attempts at developing corona virus vaccines have failed (SARS and MERS) so the long term effectiveness of the Covid vaccines is truly unknown. I am not against getting the vaccine (I prefer the Johnson and Johnson) but...

    @ChrisC

    Given that the long term effectiveness of the vaccine and its ability to prevent infection from the latest and certainly variants to come is unknown, the scientific community really needs to focus on finding a cure. Previous attempts at developing corona virus vaccines have failed (SARS and MERS) so the long term effectiveness of the Covid vaccines is truly unknown. I am not against getting the vaccine (I prefer the Johnson and Johnson) but we need a backup plan for those cases where the vaccine may not be effective, especially if we are to begin to travel to remote destinations once again.

  29. Traveller

    @The Original Donna, Andy, Andrew

    Both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) used fetal cell lines in their final testing, and Johnson & Johnson used fetal cell lines in vaccine development and testing. These cells are grown in the lab, from aborted fetal tissue, but at this point are several thousand generations down from the original aborted fetus.

    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain cell lines, but J & J's does. The cell lines...

    @The Original Donna, Andy, Andrew

    Both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) used fetal cell lines in their final testing, and Johnson & Johnson used fetal cell lines in vaccine development and testing. These cells are grown in the lab, from aborted fetal tissue, but at this point are several thousand generations down from the original aborted fetus.

    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain cell lines, but J & J's does. The cell lines used were descended from tissue taken from a 1985 elective abortion in the Netherlands.

    It's incredible how intellectually lazy some people are, @Andy. @Jay was sharing information you could have found in less than 2 minutes of searching.

  30. ChrisC

    Alan if you need a cure then it's already too late because you will ALREADY be sick and be suffering the consequences of that.

    Much better not to get sick in the first place and vaccines help prevent you getting sick.

  31. Andrew

    @ Jay - cool story. Sources?

  32. Janet

    @Mary Kay, first prevention is much cheaper and preferable to most people than treatment of what has been for millions of people a deadly disease. Second, no generic medications have been shown to cure COVID 19. The only way to stop new strains of COVID from emerging is preventing its spread. That is why it is critical that everyone gets the vaccine. What do you have to lose? And you may keep yourself from killing...

    @Mary Kay, first prevention is much cheaper and preferable to most people than treatment of what has been for millions of people a deadly disease. Second, no generic medications have been shown to cure COVID 19. The only way to stop new strains of COVID from emerging is preventing its spread. That is why it is critical that everyone gets the vaccine. What do you have to lose? And you may keep yourself from killing another person by spreading COVID. I have signed up for my vaccine and look forward to worry-free dinner parties, travel and enjoying life. I suggest you do too.

  33. Alan

    @Mary Kay
    So right you are - generic medicines that cost a fraction of the vaccine should have been properly tested long ago rather than ignored or worse. I would much prefer a cure over a vaccine.

  34. Mary Kay

    If this emergency vaccine is forced onto the traveling public, flight crews, etc., how is that freedom of choice? I guess many will have to walk away from their livelihoods and others may no longer enjoy the benefits of air travel.
    Many in the medical establishment including those recommending public policy withheld knowledge and indeed demonized, repurposed medications that could have saved thousands.....until after the inauguration. And yet the 'vaccine' has become the gold...

    If this emergency vaccine is forced onto the traveling public, flight crews, etc., how is that freedom of choice? I guess many will have to walk away from their livelihoods and others may no longer enjoy the benefits of air travel.
    Many in the medical establishment including those recommending public policy withheld knowledge and indeed demonized, repurposed medications that could have saved thousands.....until after the inauguration. And yet the 'vaccine' has become the gold standard for the world. For those who think differently, I hope their voices are heard loud and clear.

  35. Derek (AGrumpyOldMan.net)

    @UA-NYC Here you go: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-01-14/us-covid-vaccine-rollout-nears-1-million-doses-per-day

  36. Alan

    Let's hope the rest of the US and the world do not follow New York where they only consider the vaccine useful for 90 days (beginning shortly after the second jab). After that you still need to be tested and self quarantine. At this rate this will never end.

    "New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that domestic travelers arriving in New York are no longer required to quarantine or test out within 90 days...

    Let's hope the rest of the US and the world do not follow New York where they only consider the vaccine useful for 90 days (beginning shortly after the second jab). After that you still need to be tested and self quarantine. At this rate this will never end.

    "New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that domestic travelers arriving in New York are no longer required to quarantine or test out within 90 days of full vaccination.

    Those who haven’t been vaccinated, those fully vaccinated more than 90 days ago, and those arriving from abroad, will continue to have to follow New York’s standard testing and quarantine policy:"

  37. UA-NYC

    @Derek - show us your 1MM daily by end of 2020 data...good luck!

    https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/

  38. Derek (AGrumpyOldMan.net)

    @snic - Fidst let’s dispel the myth that his response was effective. All of these support functions of government that you cite - and they are support - didn’t magically appear on January 20. We would not on the path to having a vaccine for everyone by May with Herculean efforts by the Trump administration. Your refusal to give credit where it’s due reflect on what I will assume is partisanship. Also, name one person...

    @snic - Fidst let’s dispel the myth that his response was effective. All of these support functions of government that you cite - and they are support - didn’t magically appear on January 20. We would not on the path to having a vaccine for everyone by May with Herculean efforts by the Trump administration. Your refusal to give credit where it’s due reflect on what I will assume is partisanship. Also, name one person that Trump forced to not wear a mask? Perhaps you think government needs to think for people. I don’t and I certainly don’t need it thinking for me. I’ve heard all the anti-mask rhetoric and I do have concerns that those in control now won’t let it go even after it’s ok to do so. But for now, I think for myself and wear a mask and social distance. I don’t need a politician to hold my hand on that.

    Back to the support functions. Everything you cite has merit. But they are supportive. Because none of those would matter if private industry didn’t develops the vaccines and put them into mass production very quickly. Did they have supportive basic research? Yes. That’s probably even a legitimate function of a limited government. But that was not a finished product. If so, you would have three company developing identical vaccines. That’s not what happens. The vaccination effort is a great example of public-private cooperation it again, it would all be moot if there were not a supply chain of vaccines. And yes the government did backstop the financial risk of development. Normally that would not be appropriate but in an event such as this pandemic, rhat also is legitimate SUPPORT from the government. The simple fact is that without private industry we would not be on the cusp of everyone having an opportunity to be vaccinated.

  39. Alan

    I'm hoping UK-US travel might be possible after May given how well both countries are doing with vaccination. Europe I expect to be later in the summer and Oz/NZ not until 2022.

  40. snic

    @Derek -Government has played far more than a supporting role in vaccine development.

    First, scientists at the NIH have been absolutely critical. They've studied these viruses for decades and without their research, not a single private company would have been able to develop any of these vaccines.

    Second, the government guaranteed it would purchase vaccines even if they turned out not to be effective. That's something that simply doesn't work in private enterprise. This is...

    @Derek -Government has played far more than a supporting role in vaccine development.

    First, scientists at the NIH have been absolutely critical. They've studied these viruses for decades and without their research, not a single private company would have been able to develop any of these vaccines.

    Second, the government guaranteed it would purchase vaccines even if they turned out not to be effective. That's something that simply doesn't work in private enterprise. This is far more than a "supporting role." It's an essential role.

    Third, getting all these vaccines into people's arms is non-trivial. It requires a huge coordinated effort by the federal government. No private business is big enough or motivated enough to get that done. And it is happening now, with federal mass vaccination centers opening now and more coming on line soon. Contrast that with the absolute disarray the Trump administration left vaccine delivery in. The supply chain was a mess, with states having no idea how many doses they were getting, and the federal government itself having no idea how much it had on hand or how much it was sending.

    Finally, let's not forget Trump's not-so-mixed messaging throughout last year - the virus will disappear, take hydroxychloroquine, don't wear a mask, etc. I am not "filled with hate" - I am filled with anger that so many thousands of Americans died because Trump was unable and unwilling to mount an effective response against the virus. If Trump deserves a bit of credit for no getting oafishly in the way of vaccine development, he deserves far more blame for his failures of leadership in every other aspect of his handling of the coronavirus.

  41. Harvey Gannon

    I'd like to believe I'll be able to run the Berlin marathon in late September, but I think that is becoming much less likely as the EU can't seem to get their vaccination programs on track. It remains to be seen if I can actually visit the country despite having been vaccinated by that time. But, it's comforting to see the progress we have made as a country in terms of vaccine production and distribution despite the slow start.

  42. Derek (AGrumpyOldMan.net)

    @UA-NYC moving the goalposts huh? Remember when the conventional wisdom by some was "There won't be a vaccine in 2020" and now those same people are complaining about the rollout...that they said would not happen! That means you already lost the point even if the rollout was a fraction of plans. Such partisan hypocrites.

    The fact was that by the end of 2020, the vaccine distribution had ramped to 1M does per day...precisely Biden's...

    @UA-NYC moving the goalposts huh? Remember when the conventional wisdom by some was "There won't be a vaccine in 2020" and now those same people are complaining about the rollout...that they said would not happen! That means you already lost the point even if the rollout was a fraction of plans. Such partisan hypocrites.

    The fact was that by the end of 2020, the vaccine distribution had ramped to 1M does per day...precisely Biden's initial promise. Things have gone well in the supply chain and now we can raise that. Here's the reality - very little credit for this goes to either politician. It goes to the power of private enterprise. To the companies that have put these vaccines into production. Yes, the government is helping, but it is playing a support role. The telling thing is that one party is generally supportive of private enterprise while the other knows few stumbling blocks it does not want to throw in the way of those businesses. I will let you figure out which is which.

    It's a shame that you are so filled with hate that you don't have the integrity to give credit to both men for their work on a vaccine that is NON-PARTISAN.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/fact-check-coronavirus-vaccine-could-come-year-trump-says-experts-n1207411

  43. Andy

    Let's hope that completing the vaccinations in the US will leave some more doses for us in Europe. Currently, it's going very slowly, mainly because vaccines are not delivered according to contracts/schedules. Vaccination centers stand by or even close because of the unavailability of the doses. You are right, Ben, that Europe is unlikely to open up before we get at least the high risk patients vaccinated over here. And that's a long long way to go.

  44. Michael

    As an American living in Seoul, I don’t expect to be able to travel “freely” until 2022. Like MAYBE I’ll be able to visit for my dad’s 70th bday in June MAYBE.

    MAYBE I’ll be able to visit friends in Hong Kong and Tokyo by then.

    Things are just EXTREMELY conservative over here FOR GOOD REASON!

  45. UA-NYC

    Former disgraced President - promised 20mm doses by end of 2020, delivered ~3.5mm
    New competent President - promised 100mm doses first 100 days, now upped to 150mm

    Thank you President Biden! How refreshing to ditch the clown show and have adults back in charge.

  46. KK13

    @Dominic: That's why some of us, who are actually in this field and have been carrying out such research for more than two decades, don't talk.

    I just pretend I am a loser in life, and listen to their "version" of science and read the comments from these "home-grown" specialists, most of them with no science degrees or experience whatsoever.

    Usually, they are epidemiologists cum virologists-doctors-space scientists-climate scientists-economists-nuclear physicist-... you name it.

    @Dominic: That's why some of us, who are actually in this field and have been carrying out such research for more than two decades, don't talk.

    I just pretend I am a loser in life, and listen to their "version" of science and read the comments from these "home-grown" specialists, most of them with no science degrees or experience whatsoever.

    Usually, they are epidemiologists cum virologists-doctors-space scientists-climate scientists-economists-nuclear physicist-... you name it.

  47. Bill

    We are only returning to normal if most people get the vaccine. Until that point the pandemic will continue on and we will have to keep wearing masks unless it gets confirmed that you are unlikely to spread the virus if you had the vaccine. What they should do is require vaccines that proof of which can be stored in a phone app for any large scale events. Eventually the anti-vaxxers will get the hint...

    We are only returning to normal if most people get the vaccine. Until that point the pandemic will continue on and we will have to keep wearing masks unless it gets confirmed that you are unlikely to spread the virus if you had the vaccine. What they should do is require vaccines that proof of which can be stored in a phone app for any large scale events. Eventually the anti-vaxxers will get the hint that if they want to attend these events they need to get the vaccine.

  48. Janet

    @Brian, why do you think people look like fools wearing a mask? I find it liberating. After living in Japan for many years, I appreciated colleagues who kept me from getting sick because they wore a mask when they had colds etc.

  49. Janet

    @Brian, why do you think people look like fools wearing a mask? I find it liberating. After living in Japan for many years, I appreciated colleagues who kept me from getting sick because they wore a mask when they had colds etc.

  50. Brian

    The only people who don’t think things will go back to normal are the people who have been staying home. In most places, restaurants are already packed. I was in Las Vegas last weekend, and it was packed. things will be “normal” before you know it. They are, of course, will be a group of people who are scared out of their minds, and will wear a mask for the rest of their lives. I pity them for being so gullible and looking like fools.

  51. Adam

    Switzerland allows US passport holders in after the 7 day quarantine (I have a Euro one too). My vaccine card means nothing on its own. But when immigration and health officers are deciding whether to let you in the more paperwork steps and effort you can present is key. Vaccine is increasingly appearing to slow passing on virus. Time will tell!

  52. iamhere

    Vaccine timeline means nothing. Even if most of the country is vaccinated and here is why:
    - Other places would have to value obtaining a vaccine (e.g. if you have proof then you get out of testing and quarantine) and this means that countries work together to have rules that are in common

    - Having the vaccine does not prevent you from getting the virus.

  53. Andy

    @Jay Drinking the QAnon kool-aid ?

  54. george

    Hi to Adam who wrote at 5:47pm re a Swiss ski trip. In 2020 missed my annual Swiss alps hiking fun for the first time since 2005.
    Had HOPED to escape Miami's abysmal heat and humidity this September but from what I have read it looks doubtful that international travelers will be welcome then.
    Please tell me what am I missing?
    Perhaps you are a Swiss citizen?

  55. Steve

    Folks must be expecting a lot to open up. I am considering a multi-country trip in May. Hotel rates have risen significantly as compared to just 30 days ago for two of the properties I am considering; in one case by 125% and another by 150%!

  56. gabbs

    NYC friend said we should meet in Italy February 2022 (I am based in Asia)... I told her, no thanks...maybe sometime in 2024?

  57. glenn t

    Wow! Plenty of opinion here, but I'd say 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' .
    Domestically, the US is unlikely to achieve herd immunity for a long while, if ever, due to large numbers who will decline/not bother with vaccination. They will remain a danger to themselves and the population at large.
    Those figures will not go unnoticed by the rest of the world and may make international travel for US residents problematic. Since you are...

    Wow! Plenty of opinion here, but I'd say 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' .
    Domestically, the US is unlikely to achieve herd immunity for a long while, if ever, due to large numbers who will decline/not bother with vaccination. They will remain a danger to themselves and the population at large.
    Those figures will not go unnoticed by the rest of the world and may make international travel for US residents problematic. Since you are incapable of getting your house in order, get used to feeling like third-world lepers for a long time.

  58. Dominic

    I love how so many here are expert epidemiologists and work in previous-overflowing ICUs.

    Fascinating you all have time to comment on a blog!

    (slow clap)

  59. Philip Elliott

    Interesting you finish with don't expect to travel to Australia in 2021. Meanwhile Germany is still in lockdown. No leisure travel at all. Hotels going bankrupt. Same for Italy,same for UK. These European countries used to be big travel markets for USA. In fact you went to Germany recently and never told us what happened.

  60. Adam

    I'm going skiing in Switzerland later this month. Have both my Moderna shots. Have my 7 day quarantine place to stay. Then once I test negative on day 7 I'm off to the slopes. I need to get out of NYC and ski. I went to Egypt in July and followed common sense guidelines, and it was amazing. Int'l flights are mostly empty so now is a great time to fly.

  61. Janet

    The morons running Texas and Mississippi not to mention South Dakota etc are guaranteeing new strains will continue to appear and a fourth wave will hit. States where masks are the norm and vaccinations will proceed will likely ban visitors from the moron states and we will reopen smoothly, but masks are here to stay while out and about. I get my vaccine mid-March (now open to anyone 55+) and my state CT will offer...

    The morons running Texas and Mississippi not to mention South Dakota etc are guaranteeing new strains will continue to appear and a fourth wave will hit. States where masks are the norm and vaccinations will proceed will likely ban visitors from the moron states and we will reopen smoothly, but masks are here to stay while out and about. I get my vaccine mid-March (now open to anyone 55+) and my state CT will offer vaccines to all adults by May 3. Not sure why people make such a big deal about masks. They save lives, and unless you know who you are with or are socially distanced, why not wear them? So unfortunately due to the moron states, it will be a long time before Americans will be welcome outside the US. The ill considered decisions by moron states extend the problems for all of us.

  62. dan

    @Lukas funny I want to go to Sweden this summer. :) Anyway all bs aside I have a plan A go to Sweden and do the tourist thing in Europe, Plan B is to stay and to the tourist thing in Sweden Plan C is to tour the states. The suckiest thing is my company has a PTO policy that once you max out of PTO you don't earn more. I have my vacation approved and now I have to take a day off every 4-6 weeks until my Vacation. the struggle is real

  63. Andrew

    Agreed with snic and NK3. Our rate was over 70%, but that's because we're in pediatrics and have a lot of expecting (or soon-to-be) medical staff.

    Also, what's CCP virus? It's SARS-Cov-2, if you're going to refer to the virus name. If you're going to be a bigot, head to VFTW. That place is like Parlor married 4chan.

  64. Michael M

    Mask mandates on airplanes will likely be in effect well into 2022. Because of the uncertainty brought about by the emergence of new variants (and the possibility of the emergence of strains that current vaccines would not likely protect against), it's all big question mark. It appears that one-third of those eligible to be vaccinated have declined to do so. I seem to recall this conversation taking place last spring, with may thinking that by...

    Mask mandates on airplanes will likely be in effect well into 2022. Because of the uncertainty brought about by the emergence of new variants (and the possibility of the emergence of strains that current vaccines would not likely protect against), it's all big question mark. It appears that one-third of those eligible to be vaccinated have declined to do so. I seem to recall this conversation taking place last spring, with may thinking that by the end of summer 2020, things might return somewhat to normal travelwise. We probably have a ways to go. Still, because none of us really knows when things will return to normal, my strategy throughout the pandemic has been to just keep booking fee-free refundable award trips as usual until it's finally time to go somewhere.

  65. NK3

    @AlreadyHadCCPvirus: To echo what @snic said--

    The hospital I work at has about a 90% rate vaccination among staff. Of the ones who did not get vaccinated, there are some with very good reasons, like allergies, pregnancy, breast feeding, etc. The person I worked with yesterday held off initially because he did not consider himself "patient facing," which was recommendation used by my hospital for the initial doses. He desperately wants to be vaccinated, but...

    @AlreadyHadCCPvirus: To echo what @snic said--

    The hospital I work at has about a 90% rate vaccination among staff. Of the ones who did not get vaccinated, there are some with very good reasons, like allergies, pregnancy, breast feeding, etc. The person I worked with yesterday held off initially because he did not consider himself "patient facing," which was recommendation used by my hospital for the initial doses. He desperately wants to be vaccinated, but currently the hospital does not have enough vaccines.

    Regarding your other points:
    -We don't know how long immunity lasts, but it will give you immunity now, when the virus is highly prevalent in society. That's why people need to get it ASAP.
    -There are many types of vaccines. Pfizer & Moderna are mRNA, J&J is adenovirus vector, Sinovac is the inactivated virus. You are mistaken on other vaccines. The main purpose of the yearly flu vaccine is to reduce severe cases. And as others have pointed out, we don't know enough about the transmissibility of people who received the Covid vaccines.
    -Yes, once vaccinated, we still need to wear masks and socially distance. Hopefully enough people get vaccinated so we can loosen those restrictions.

  66. Bob

    People need to stop thinking "appointments are hard to get now" means "appointments will be hard to get in May" By May the vaccines will be in most retail pharmacies - appointments will be much easier.

    Here is Colorado state says they can administer 450,000 doses a week. They just don't yet have the supply. Won't take long at that rate.

    And I'll be happily wearing a mask in Fall/Winter - it's damn nice to not get sick. COVID regardless.

  67. JBR

    With states like Texas and Mississippi beginning to fully open up very quickly coupled with the much more contagious and potentially more fatal strains of Covid 19 (i.e. Brazilian, South African strains) beginning to spread in this Country, there is almost going to be a 4th surge next month or so. Fortunately by April the most vulnerable of the population (seniors 70 + and people with serious pre-existing medical conditions) will (hopefully) be almost entirely...

    With states like Texas and Mississippi beginning to fully open up very quickly coupled with the much more contagious and potentially more fatal strains of Covid 19 (i.e. Brazilian, South African strains) beginning to spread in this Country, there is almost going to be a 4th surge next month or so. Fortunately by April the most vulnerable of the population (seniors 70 + and people with serious pre-existing medical conditions) will (hopefully) be almost entirely vaccinated, so the death rates and hospitalization rates won't be nearly as bad as they otherwise would. It would have been great if Red America could wait another month or two to fully open up once the warmer weather arrives (i.e. when people can dine outdoors) and to give the Country a chance to further reduce the spread, but one has to understand that almost everyone is tired of being hunkered up. And almost everyone is ready to revenge travel.

  68. snic

    @AlreadyHadCCPvirus: It is simply not the case that most frontline healthcare workers have refused to be vaccinated. For example, at a local hospital chain I am familiar with, 90% of doctors had been vaccinated (data as of about a month ago; likely more now) and majorities of all other staff. I suspect (and hope) that even more of the remaining staff will gradually come on board as time goes by and they see that the...

    @AlreadyHadCCPvirus: It is simply not the case that most frontline healthcare workers have refused to be vaccinated. For example, at a local hospital chain I am familiar with, 90% of doctors had been vaccinated (data as of about a month ago; likely more now) and majorities of all other staff. I suspect (and hope) that even more of the remaining staff will gradually come on board as time goes by and they see that the vaccines aren't harming anyone.

    As for transmitting the virus to others once you've been vaccinated - it's not *at all* that the experts believe this will occur. It's that they don't have the data yet to determine what the transmission probability is. Until they know, they aren't going to make a recommendation. They're scientists; that's how they work. The good news is that preliminary results indicate that transmission probability is likely to be greatly reduced in vaccinated individuals.

  69. The Original Donna

    @Jay - No stem cells were used in the development or production of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The Pope was vaccinated in January. Just thought I’d throw that out in case anyone might care.

  70. Ric

    There's been a lot of talk about a vaccination passport or app. Does anyone know if any of these actually exist already - separate from airline sponsored ones like IAG ? I'm curious.

  71. Derek (AGrumpyOldMan.net)

    What a great job President Trump did to set things up so President Biden could have the vaccine and continue the roll out and even expedite it! I applaud both for giving us a real hope of a return to normalcy....before college football season! ;) (Priorities! :) ) I look forward to ceremonially burning all my masks sometime this summer!

    As for travel, I have no plans to even consider overseas travel this year. I...

    What a great job President Trump did to set things up so President Biden could have the vaccine and continue the roll out and even expedite it! I applaud both for giving us a real hope of a return to normalcy....before college football season! ;) (Priorities! :) ) I look forward to ceremonially burning all my masks sometime this summer!

    As for travel, I have no plans to even consider overseas travel this year. I had to cancel two European vacations in the last 18 months (one, pre-COVID, was due to personal illness) so I would hope to get back there next year. I don't expect things to return fully to normal this year and no more often than I get to go to Europe, I do not want a subpar travel experience with closed or significantly reduced service lounges and wearing a mask for eight hours with a basic business class.

    For this summer, I am starting to think about going out west and hitting some national parks. I can stand a few hours in a plane with a mask. Getting out into the open spaces seems a better plan this year with appropriate precautions in tourist spots with many people. I have no gulit about traveling because I have long said we should not cower over COVID but live our lives as normally as possible with appropriate precautions and safety measures.

    As for dropping of mask requirements and other restrictions, I don't see that coming lightly in many places. I do think there are many people in power in federal, state, and local governments who relish the power that COVID has given them. They are not going to release it easily. I suspect that in some jurisdictions it will be a long time before restrictions are formally lifted, but that as we approach herd immunity via vaccination, enforcement will gradually drop away with people ignoring the rules and authorities generally not going after "violators." I am fortunate to live in a state with a governor that takes a more reasonable approach so I am only concerned about this should I travel to certain states. I am concerned about a very slow official end to the requirement to wear masks on a plane where disobeying the rule is far riskier than walking down the street.

  72. George N Romey

    You already see the "mask" forever argument and most of our politicians, including the old geezer in the WH will never give into the COVID forever crowd. Some of us don't want to get vaccinated and some of us shouldn't. No thanks, I'll take my chance rather put something in my arm that was rushed to market.

    I'm 61 and very healthy. I only wear a mask when required and social distancing at the grocery...

    You already see the "mask" forever argument and most of our politicians, including the old geezer in the WH will never give into the COVID forever crowd. Some of us don't want to get vaccinated and some of us shouldn't. No thanks, I'll take my chance rather put something in my arm that was rushed to market.

    I'm 61 and very healthy. I only wear a mask when required and social distancing at the grocery store, Wal Mart, local restaurants is a joke. I've been spending time in the Panhandle of Florida where masks just aren't worn anywhere and I haven't been wearing a mask when I'm there. The gym I work out won't allow people to wear masks. Somehow I haven't died. Go figure.

    What this means is for quite awhile to come we will be wearing masks inflight and companies aren't going to send people back in the air.

  73. Kuloko

    Just came back from Seattle and leaving for Kona in three weeks. With mostly empty planes, affordable hotels, and accommodating work arrangements to do things remotely, it is already a good time to travel in USA before the crowds fill the vacation spots. But the limited service in hotel sucks and I ma tired of the same AA food in F.

  74. Chris DeSantis

    Lots of misinformation on this thread about vaccine's not preventing spread.

    It is true that many experts do not feel confident proclaiming that the vaccines prevent spread because that was not something that was formally studied in the vaccine trials- only the prevention of illness.

    Early evidence does suggest that vaccines do prevents the virus from spreading, but we still do not have enough data for experts to be saying that confidently.

    Not knowing whether...

    Lots of misinformation on this thread about vaccine's not preventing spread.

    It is true that many experts do not feel confident proclaiming that the vaccines prevent spread because that was not something that was formally studied in the vaccine trials- only the prevention of illness.

    Early evidence does suggest that vaccines do prevents the virus from spreading, but we still do not have enough data for experts to be saying that confidently.

    Not knowing whether something is true yet is not equivalent to knowing it is not true.

    TL/dr we don't know that vaccines prevent spread but we very well could soon and it's more likely than not they do

  75. Bob

    Will OPM be back?

    Will corporate overlords once again require their minions to fly to a sales meeting?

  76. Doug

    I've booked a month long trip to Thailand starting in mid-October. First class on ANA from JFK to Tokyo, business on the way back. If all goes well, i'll get to try out both The Suite and The Room!

  77. AlreadyHadCCPvirus

    There are a significant number of people who will not take the vaccine and I do not blame them. Why? I just visited my doctor last week and while getting blood work done, one of the medical assistants confided in me that 50% of their staff refused to get vaccinated. The fact that these are frontline workers refusing it is, for me, very telling. I asked my doctor and this is what he told me:

    There are a significant number of people who will not take the vaccine and I do not blame them. Why? I just visited my doctor last week and while getting blood work done, one of the medical assistants confided in me that 50% of their staff refused to get vaccinated. The fact that these are frontline workers refusing it is, for me, very telling. I asked my doctor and this is what he told me:
    - no one knows how long it provides immunity.
    - it doesn’t mean that you cannot transmit the virus to other people. (Correct me if I’m wrong but with most older types of vaccines, once vaccinated, you won’t get the virus and you cannot transmit it to others). This new vaccine, by the way, is MRNA and unlike earlier types of vaccine, does not contain the virus.
    - you still have to wear a mask
    - you still have to social distance
    - you still are subject to travel restrictions and undergo testing requirements (as of now).

    I did read the Vox article mentioned in the earlier comments. Until the the medical experts and the media, which is so heavily invested in the fear mongering of this virus, get their heads and their act together and are on the same page, there is not incentive enough for some people to take it if they will still have to behave and conduct their lives as if they could still transmit the virus to others.

  78. Jay

    In related news: as far as I've been informed, all three vaccines have used stem cells from aborted babies either for testing or production. Just throwing that out there for anyone who might care.

  79. Phillip

    “Enough vaccine supply” to me, does not translate to everyone will receive at least one dose of a vaccine!

  80. NK3

    Right now the demand for the vaccine in the US is far greater than the supply. But if we do have enough for all adults by the end of May, I think we will start running into issues with people who are hesitant or outright refuse to get any vaccine, as well as people who seek out or avoid specific vaccines. This will slow down our return to normal.

    The US will need to see...

    Right now the demand for the vaccine in the US is far greater than the supply. But if we do have enough for all adults by the end of May, I think we will start running into issues with people who are hesitant or outright refuse to get any vaccine, as well as people who seek out or avoid specific vaccines. This will slow down our return to normal.

    The US will need to see a huge & sustained drop in cases before international travel will be accepted. Right now we are better than in Dec/Jan, but we have plateaued (at a dangerous level). The current 7 day average is 65K cases. In late May 2020 it got down to almost 20K (after the first wave), and in early Sept it was down to about 35K (after the second wave). Not only do we need vaccines in arms, but we need to see a huge drop in those case numbers.

    One hurdle with vaccine passports is the lack of a universally accepted vaccine. The US has granted emergency authorization for 3 vaccines. If "health passports" become a thing, will we allow people into the country because they received Sputnik or Sinopharm or AstraZeneca, even though we do not approve those for our own citizens? There are a lot of these issues to sort through.

  81. boourns

    Lol Texas is about to set us back by a country mile, so I hope y’all are booking refundable tickets. And Biden never said everyone will get vaccinated by May, only that the supply will be fulfilled for all adults by then. There’s like a Moore’s law of stupidity playing out in this country and it’s amazing to watch.

  82. Dominic

    I just wanted to mention that Biden said everyone who wants a vaccine (kids aside) will be able to get one by May and that by **JULY MOST OF THESE WILL BE ADMINISTERED.* That's a lofty goal and I hope they can meet it, for sure, but he never said everyone would be vaccinated by May.

    They are vaccinating like crazy here in Florida, and we have 4 new massive vaccination sites run by the...

    I just wanted to mention that Biden said everyone who wants a vaccine (kids aside) will be able to get one by May and that by **JULY MOST OF THESE WILL BE ADMINISTERED.* That's a lofty goal and I hope they can meet it, for sure, but he never said everyone would be vaccinated by May.

    They are vaccinating like crazy here in Florida, and we have 4 new massive vaccination sites run by the National Guard going up right now (or already running) so if they can figure out how to get to this pace in other parts of the country, I could maybe see this July date happening. That's a big *if* however.

    Istanbul or bust this September (hopefully).

  83. The Original Donna

    While vaccine status currently does not confer any relief from quarantines and testing while crossing international borders, there is emerging evidence that those vaccinated are not shedding virus. The best possible outcome at this time for international travel would be for a study that would reveal this to be the truth, that vaccinated persons do not shed virus. Then, the “digital vaccine passport” needs to be implemented, probably not an easy thing. In the meantime,...

    While vaccine status currently does not confer any relief from quarantines and testing while crossing international borders, there is emerging evidence that those vaccinated are not shedding virus. The best possible outcome at this time for international travel would be for a study that would reveal this to be the truth, that vaccinated persons do not shed virus. Then, the “digital vaccine passport” needs to be implemented, probably not an easy thing. In the meantime, nations are currently vaccinating their high risk populations which should relieve the stress on the hospitals and reduce the serious illness and death outcomes. At some point, probably before herd immunity, the nations will have to make the trade-off between public health risk and their economic recoveries. Hopefully, the calculus will be favorable for international travel by fall.

    As for the US rollout of the vaccine, every single person I know that is eligible for the vaccine has been fully vaccinated. Two million vaccines per day is much better than any other country and that will surely ramp up after the Relief legislation is passed. Keep the faith everyone, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  84. Mark Martin

    My first domestic trip with air travel since early 2020 is scheduled in June to the Pacific NW.

    My first international trip is scheduled for New Years 2021 to Cancun.

    My first trip off the continent will probably be in 2022.

    I get my second shot next Friday. I work in a school that is currently full at 2200 students, so walking in to a crowded restaurant will not seem odd to me as we are working in massive crowds anyway. Can't wait to get on that plane!

  85. Santastico

    As always, a lot of political BS. He just shot himself badly in his feet since there is no way all American adults will get the vaccine by end of May. Another empty promise of a politician that he will need to find an excuse to why it didn't happen of course blaming someone else.

  86. LovetoFly

    @Ben
    I think you are exactly right. I was in group 2. I was required to get my vaccine for my job, but didn't seek it out. I hadn't made the effort since January, but was just "forced scheduled" for next week..almost three months after I should have scheduled. It's not that I don't want the vaccine or have concerns, its just a low priority for me.

  87. Lukas

    @Willem

    You are 100% correct. I'm stuck in Sweden and it sucks (but still probably much better than a lot of major cities or countries in lockdown). I can't wait to travel to the US again. Would LOVE to be stuck there, and I really hope that I'll be able to vacation in your beautiful land for like the 50th time this summer :)

    The vaccine rollout here is a complete disaster, unfortunately. I...

    @Willem

    You are 100% correct. I'm stuck in Sweden and it sucks (but still probably much better than a lot of major cities or countries in lockdown). I can't wait to travel to the US again. Would LOVE to be stuck there, and I really hope that I'll be able to vacation in your beautiful land for like the 50th time this summer :)

    The vaccine rollout here is a complete disaster, unfortunately. I would also say that no more than one in ten wears a mask, and we're approaching a massive third wave. Just wonderful.

    I'm getting depressed just thinking about staying here for another summer (or fall, or winter, or spring).

  88. Love to Fly

    I've been domestic flying since January without issues or concerns. Have 85k miles butt-in-seat. The real issue is once you get on the ground. Some states are close to "normal" where you wear a mask but you can eat inside, etc. Go to California and everything is locked down. I don't mean for this to be political, but if one stays away from CA and NY ones life is fairly "normal".

    We've seen that the...

    I've been domestic flying since January without issues or concerns. Have 85k miles butt-in-seat. The real issue is once you get on the ground. Some states are close to "normal" where you wear a mask but you can eat inside, etc. Go to California and everything is locked down. I don't mean for this to be political, but if one stays away from CA and NY ones life is fairly "normal".

    We've seen that the vaccine is not going to be a change agent. In my county, 90%+ of school teachers have received the full vaccine, yet they are too scared to return to the classroom. The response is to hire monitors to go into the classrooms while the teachers teach remotely.

    I'd be surprised if any country opens up before the majority of their population is vaccinated.

  89. John

    I hope it happens in late may cause I have planned a Hong Kong Trip that got cancelled in May of 2020 but now it is a year later. No matter what, I still travel domestically. But I can't wait to get rid of masks. I am so tired of these things.

  90. Ben

    There are 3 kinds of people in the US:

    1) Those that desperately want a vaccine and will get it ASAP
    2) Those who said "F it!" months ago and are acting like covid doesn't exist
    3) Those who would take a vaccine but not seek it out - they'll probably get vaccinated over months

    I think Group 1 will be fully vaccinated by June, and the acute danger will truly be past...

    There are 3 kinds of people in the US:

    1) Those that desperately want a vaccine and will get it ASAP
    2) Those who said "F it!" months ago and are acting like covid doesn't exist
    3) Those who would take a vaccine but not seek it out - they'll probably get vaccinated over months

    I think Group 1 will be fully vaccinated by June, and the acute danger will truly be past for them.

    However Groups 2 and 3 will continue getting sick and dying by the hundreds per day. What do we do then? Once everyone *can* truly make their personal covid risk akin to the flu, but CNN is still acting like the streets are piled with dead bodies, does Group 1 go back to normal or are they still guilted into staying locked in their houses?

  91. snic

    @Too Many: Re children not being vaccinated - I think the idea is that if children make up <30% of the population, and everyone else gets vaccinated, herd immunity will be sufficient. Couple that to the very low rats of serious illness in children and I think we can indeed get back to normal or close to it, even without vaccinating kids.

    Of course, this requires that as many adults as possible get vaccinated. There...

    @Too Many: Re children not being vaccinated - I think the idea is that if children make up <30% of the population, and everyone else gets vaccinated, herd immunity will be sufficient. Couple that to the very low rats of serious illness in children and I think we can indeed get back to normal or close to it, even without vaccinating kids.

    Of course, this requires that as many adults as possible get vaccinated. There is a LOT of hesitancy among some groups (African Americans and Republicans). Hopefully that will change.

  92. snic

    Many posters express skepticism that anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by May, based on the difficulty of getting access to the vaccine now for those who are eligible. That's a very legitimate concern - but I believe the stimulus bill that's likely to be passed soon includes a significant chunk of money for federally-funded vaccination efforts. The idea would be to open dozens of mass vaccination sites that can...

    Many posters express skepticism that anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by May, based on the difficulty of getting access to the vaccine now for those who are eligible. That's a very legitimate concern - but I believe the stimulus bill that's likely to be passed soon includes a significant chunk of money for federally-funded vaccination efforts. The idea would be to open dozens of mass vaccination sites that can each deliver thousands of vaccines per day. Of course that's a HUGE logistical challenge - but we have the resources to do it (National Guard, FEMA, etc). All we need is the will and the money.

  93. Tim Dunn

    There are political dangers of failing to reopen economies when there is scientific evidence that disease transmission is very low.
    The EU has been slower than the UK and the US in vaccinating but I can assure that there will be countries in the EU that will strongly rebel if the EU loses another summer travel season, esp. if it means losing hundreds of thousands of American travelers this summer season.

    All US airlines...

    There are political dangers of failing to reopen economies when there is scientific evidence that disease transmission is very low.
    The EU has been slower than the UK and the US in vaccinating but I can assure that there will be countries in the EU that will strongly rebel if the EU loses another summer travel season, esp. if it means losing hundreds of thousands of American travelers this summer season.

    All US airlines and cruise lines are seeing booking activity pick up and it is very closely age correlated. People who have been vaccinated are much more confident to travel. Younger people that were initially resistant to get the vaccine are realizing it might close doors to rejoining the world - even to go to concerts and sporting events in the US.

    The political reason to control people is fast falling. Countries and cities have to open up. There are political careers on the line right now because of excess lockdowns which have not done anything to reduce death rates on a per capita basis.

  94. Too Many

    This is really an optimistic/unrealistic outlook for a chunk of the US population, because it does not factor in the millions of Americans with younger children that cannot be vaccinated. Those kids will be at risk of catching or spreading coronavirus. Which means flying or going to a country still can be a source of transmission. Or countries may not allow them in without quarantine as they can't provide any proof of vaccination. They may...

    This is really an optimistic/unrealistic outlook for a chunk of the US population, because it does not factor in the millions of Americans with younger children that cannot be vaccinated. Those kids will be at risk of catching or spreading coronavirus. Which means flying or going to a country still can be a source of transmission. Or countries may not allow them in without quarantine as they can't provide any proof of vaccination. They may rely on negative testing, but then depending the type of tests both outbound and inbound, will parents want to subject their kids to it?

  95. Willem

    Honestly we live in such a beautiful and spectacular country to explore, that there’s no other country I’d rather be “stuck in”.

    Imagine being in Singapore right now and being sick of doing the same things like the 10th time at this point!

  96. D3kingg

    The state of Texas is fully open and mask free as of March 10th.

  97. rich

    While it is good news, I'm doubtful "normal" will ever return. Maybe 70% or 80% or 90% but we will not see pre-virus normalcy. I hope to be wrong but people have been wrong on this for a while now.

  98. Clem

    I agree with @Samo above; since the vaccine apparently doesn't prevent the spread, countries won't reopen until their own population is mostly vaccinated and on the safe side. And I'm all for it frankly.
    Then the other issue will be anti vaxxers, but hopefully those will be in enough minority that they won't prevent herd immunity.
    Personally I have some Japan travel scheduled for mid October, and it looks like things are starting to look up!

  99. Anthony

    Also many governments will target vaccinations of those *age 65 or older* before relaxing restrictions rather than vaccinations of all adults. Vaccine coverage of that group is rising very fast currently; the group will be largely protected in a month or so.

  100. Patti

    Time to review the ridiculous 3 day covid test policy to return to the US. I have no issue with a requirement but just make it more reasonable, 48 or 72 hours.

    It may be easily attainable in some major countries but hard to arrange in many 3rd world locations in such short time frame.

    Maybe make the time frame longer for those fully vaccinated. (YES, I KNOW you can still get it...

    Time to review the ridiculous 3 day covid test policy to return to the US. I have no issue with a requirement but just make it more reasonable, 48 or 72 hours.

    It may be easily attainable in some major countries but hard to arrange in many 3rd world locations in such short time frame.

    Maybe make the time frame longer for those fully vaccinated. (YES, I KNOW you can still get it and transmit it but the probabilities are lower)

    And yes, I traveled internationally last year and am going to do it again this year.

  101. Bill

    " I am highly doubtful that the vaccine will be available to all adults by the end of May. I am surprised that the Biden administration has set themselves up to fail like this." - well it's a good thing Biden didn't promise that then. He said that the US will have the supply for everyone by then. Not that every person will be able to receive the vaccine by end of May. People need to learn how to listen better.

  102. John

    @ Samo: "Your individual vaccination status is irrelevant as you can still spread it. "

    There is plenty of evidence that the vaccine does prevent transmission; the scientific community is reluctant to make that proclamation, for obvious reasons, but in recent weeks many journalists have been reviewing the data: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/22291959/covid-vaccines-transmission-protect-spread-virus-moderna-pfizer

  103. Anthony

    A lot of people seem to be skeptical on vaccinations getting done - anecdotally I have seen a lot more people in younger age groups get vaccinated over the past week. This is before the supposed glut of vaccines Pfizer, J&J and Moderna are expected to deliver mid month. Biden has been trying to underpromise since he got elected - when he said "May," he probably really meant "April," which is what many public health people had been saying for months.

  104. Bill

    "I suspect the President only means there will enough vaccines available for administering in the country." Exactly this. There is no reasonable view where someone could claim that everyone who wants a vaccination will be able to get it by end of May. We know from experience that is just not true. What can be true is that the federal government will have accepted shipment from the drug companies of enough doses for everyone by...

    "I suspect the President only means there will enough vaccines available for administering in the country." Exactly this. There is no reasonable view where someone could claim that everyone who wants a vaccination will be able to get it by end of May. We know from experience that is just not true. What can be true is that the federal government will have accepted shipment from the drug companies of enough doses for everyone by end of May. That is a vastly different thing.

  105. Bill

    "It sounds like within a few months people should be able to travel in the US in a safe and guilt-free way. " Actually it doesn't sound that way at all. As it is people have to wait months for appointments to get the vaccines. Then its like a six week process if you do the two dose vaccine. In a few months the vaccines will be ready to be shipped but that doesn't mean...

    "It sounds like within a few months people should be able to travel in the US in a safe and guilt-free way. " Actually it doesn't sound that way at all. As it is people have to wait months for appointments to get the vaccines. Then its like a six week process if you do the two dose vaccine. In a few months the vaccines will be ready to be shipped but that doesn't mean they will be distributed until the summer or maybe even fall. Places like texas which are getting rid of their mask mandate or florida with their whole open for business philosophy are breeding grounds for variants and it only takes one that is more contagious and avoids the vaccine to set back the entire country. The covidiots are the very people that have prolonged this entire crisis all along and they continue to be the biggest obstacle for this country. On top of that the anti-vaxxers could allow the pandemic to keep going even with vaccines. Vaccines only work if they get into enough arms.

  106. iflyfar

    Agree with @Gene. I have said since November that I wouldn't expect to be vaccinated until at least August if not September. The US just doesn't have the last mile figured out. Even then I fully expect masks to be mandated until at least 2022.

  107. John T

    There's a MASSIVE difference between 'we will have enough vaccines' and 'everyone will be fully vaccinated'. I suspect the President only means there will enough vaccines available for administering in the country.

    Actually then jabbing hundreds of millions of people twice, is an immense logistical exercise that will take many months to achieve. If all doses are available at the end of May I would expect all Americans who want the vaccine to be...

    There's a MASSIVE difference between 'we will have enough vaccines' and 'everyone will be fully vaccinated'. I suspect the President only means there will enough vaccines available for administering in the country.

    Actually then jabbing hundreds of millions of people twice, is an immense logistical exercise that will take many months to achieve. If all doses are available at the end of May I would expect all Americans who want the vaccine to be fully vaccinated no earlier than the end of August (likely a month or two later due to bureaucratic inefficiency).

  108. Andrew Y

    Based on all of these data points, the US and UK may open themselves to international travelers, or to each other, before many other nations. It’s ironic but I’ll take it. I’ve been missing London

  109. Samo

    Your individual vaccination status is irrelevant as you can still spread it. What matters is when the majority of people in your destination is vaccinated. Once countries protect their population, they can fully reopen to people without a need for vaccination requirement. On the other hand, while locals aren't protected, restrictions will most likely remain as they are. Very few countries have exceptions for people with natural immunity, so there is little reason to expect...

    Your individual vaccination status is irrelevant as you can still spread it. What matters is when the majority of people in your destination is vaccinated. Once countries protect their population, they can fully reopen to people without a need for vaccination requirement. On the other hand, while locals aren't protected, restrictions will most likely remain as they are. Very few countries have exceptions for people with natural immunity, so there is little reason to expect exceptions for people with vaccine-based immunity which is a slightly less effective.

    The rest will depend on local culture and attitudes. For some countries, "going abroad" is a big deal and they are less likely to reopen soon. For others it's a natural way of doing day-to-day business and those will be pressured ASAP. Then there are countries relying on tourism and finally countries that never really closed, or at least already reopened months ago. It is actually possible to have a nice holiday, it's just that choices are much more limited. I have been travelling around, eating at restaurants (indoors) and enjoying self-service buffets since June.

  110. ABC

    In general, International travel will be too much of a hassle. Domestic travel will be massive. Expect Orlando, Vegas, etc to be very busy. But airplane capacity won’t meet demand until fall. Most families have already planned their summer vacation. Most trips will be <10h drive.

  111. Gene

    @ Ben -- I am highly doubtful that the vaccine will be available to all adults by the end of May. I am surprised that the Biden administration has set themselves up to fail like this.

  112. Lou

    Just booked Japan for January 2022, fingers crossed

  113. Anthony

    People can basically travel unfettered in the US already. The biggest impediments to domestic travel is restrictions on activity on the ground - meaning dining, museums, theater, shopping, gathering and conventions, etc. So it will be up to states to open up these activities - the issue is that not everyone will be vaccinated by June even if you are. In this scenario, things will open, but stuff like masks will still be required in...

    People can basically travel unfettered in the US already. The biggest impediments to domestic travel is restrictions on activity on the ground - meaning dining, museums, theater, shopping, gathering and conventions, etc. So it will be up to states to open up these activities - the issue is that not everyone will be vaccinated by June even if you are. In this scenario, things will open, but stuff like masks will still be required in a lot of settings, at least late spring / early summer.

    Provided on the ground restrictions are relaxed, I personally plan on a bunch of domestic travel this year. International seems unlikely given the slow vaccination schedules of many popular tourist destinations, but these destinations will want vaccinated tourists, so we will see if they can make it happen.

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Alan

@Mauricio Several individuals from the scientific community have even called for a halt to vaccinations for the reason you mentioned. I just wish they would focus on a cure. Playing whack a mole with vaccines is not a good long term solution.

Mauricio

Cases are decreasing in most parts of the country, but they are still high. The mix of high case counts and growing vaccination levels makes an epidemiological soup that is primed to breed new variants that are resistant to the vaccines. We definitely don’t need that hurdle at the end of the race, so please keep taking care to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Alan

@Simon Given that quarantines have never been enforced, this means essentially nothing. I saw another similar article saying it was safe to travel but you should still wear a mask in public, avoid crowds, social distance, and wash ur hands. Sounds like nothing has changed. In my case I feel much safer around people who have had covid than someone who has only been vaccinated.

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