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Vaccinated Travelers Will Not Be Exempt From Travel Restrictions

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Being vaccinated won't be the golden ticket to travel…yet. There has been a lot of talk regarding immunity passports and preferential treatment regarding travelers who have been vaccinated but now leading health authorities and governments are sounding the alarm this may not be the case in 2021. 

Recent events over the last couple weeks have shown that those who have been vaccinated may not see any benefits this year when it comes to travel restrictions being lifted. 

Woman At Airport luggage in mask

There is No Evidence Yet That The Vaccine Stops Transmission

Leading immunologist, Michal Tal from Stanford University has concerns those who have been vaccinated will become silent spreaders putting unvaccinated people at risk. 

“A lot of people are thinking that once they get vaccinated, they’re not going to have to wear masks anymore,” said Tal, “It’s really going to be critical for them to know they have to keep wearing masks, because they could still be contagious.”

The vaccine clinical trials for Covid-19 shots were designed to prevent exposed individuals from getting sick. There is simply not enough public health data to answer the question if those who have been vaccinated can still transmit the virus.

Couple at airport waiting for flight with masks on

The New U.S. Testing Requirement Does Not Exempt Vaccinated Travelers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the implementation of COVID-19 testing requirements for all international arrivals by air to the U.S. 

Starting January 26, 2021 all passengers arriving to the United States by air must present proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen or PCR test no older than 72 hours before being allowed to board their flight. 

What was surprising to some travelers was the fact that those who have been vaccinated are not exempt from the required testing

Travelers checking documents

Australia Health Official Says International Travel Will Not Resume In 2021

International travel is unlikely to resume to and from Australia this year, even if a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, Health Department Head Brendan Murphy stated. 

Woman traveler in mask

Travel Restrictions Tighten Worldwide

It's not the start travelers were hoping for in 2021. New restrictions are being announced around the world as multiple more contagious variants of Covid-19 have emerged. 

The UK recently closed all travel corridors which means every traveler arriving from abroad will need to quarantine for 10 days. Additionally, travelers will be required to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test

UK residents have also been placed in a lockdown preventing travelers from leaving the country for non-essential travel. 

female leaving airport with mask and luggage

The United States will now require all incoming international travelers to present proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen test before boarding their flight. 

Canada also announced proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test must be presented to your airline before returning to the country from abroad. That is on top of the 14 day mandatory quarantine.

Australia's borders are still completely closed with a ban on all non-essential travel in or out of the country. 

There are currently only 7 countries remaining in the world that do not require a negative Covid test or quarantine upon arrival. 

traveler on phone pandemic

Will Travelers Require a Vaccine Passport or Immunity Passport  in 2021?

Global travel restrictions are changing daily and it's too soon to know if and which countries will adopt a mandatory proof of vaccination for entry.  Large pharmaceutical companies are still studying data from clinical trials to determine if those who have been vaccinated can still transmit the virus

male traveler at the airport wearing a mask with his luggage

While many countries are still requiring negative covid-19 tests for vaccinated travelers, that could change in time.  As more vaccine data is released, countries may amend their entry requirements to include proof of vaccination as an alternative to testing. 

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Wednesday 10th of March 2021

Anything to keep people locked down.So I guess it wasn't worth my time to get vaccinated.


Wednesday 20th of January 2021

I dont see a point in getting the vaccine if nobody respects the fact that you received it.


Tuesday 19th of January 2021

I look at this and I'm like, "The global travel industry is screwed."

Stephen White

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

So basically don't travel anywhere, at all, ever. Doesn't matter if you're positive or negative, whether you've gotten vaccinated or have had COVID and recovered. Travel is over for 2021, and it's only January 19. It will take years for the tourism industry to recover. The news only gets more and more depressing.

Stephen White

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

I rely on this site every day to keep me informed about the travel industry and international restrictions regarding freedom of movement. It looks as though the travel industry (meaning international travel, not domestic) won't return to the norms of 2019-early 2020 for a very long time. I doubt we'll be traveling anywhere until 2022. On the positive side, we'll save lots of money and I'll be stacking up huge numbers of vacation days.