Many of us are on the fence about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. mRNA vaccines use new technology, and the vaccines were released impressively quickly. Are the Covid-19 vaccines safe? Are they necessary? The answer: yes – and for those looking to travel – they probably will be soon. Here’s why.
Modern medicine is truly a miracle, and you can thank the hundreds of thousands of tireless scientists, biomedical engineers, lab workers, researchers, nurses, doctors, and volunteers for their work. Research has repeatedly shown the vaccines to be as safe, if not safer than the typical flu vaccine.
Our path towards normalcy is charted by our recovery. And our recovery depends on vaccines. Though vaccines have always been an unfortunately debatable feature of our society, they’re our only clear path towards travel returning to its prior self.
Here are the ten top travel-related reasons you should get vaccinated as soon as you can.
Getting vaccinated will open up more destinations
As the vaccines continue to prove themselves in the real world, most destinations that have closed down and sheltered themselves will likely re-open, with one requirement: that you are fully vaccinated. Think Australia, Thailand, Argentina. These countries closed down from very early-on and will likely re-open only to those vaccinated.
We’re already seeing this happen on a small scale. For example, this beautiful island in the Mediterranean will be opening up, without quarantine, for those vaccinated.
It’s safer, not just for you, but for everyone
If there’s one surefire way to eliminate most Covid-19 risk (aside from not leaving your basement), it’s getting vaccinated and continuing to follow safety protocols. The mRNA vaccines are safe and proven to be about 95 percent effective in completely preventing illness and symptoms and 99.99% effective in preventing serious illness from COVID.
If you’re vaccinated and not sick, you’re likely not able to spread enough of a viral load to infect others. At some point, being vaccinated will become a courtesy to the developing countries you visit. If the locals aren’t as concerned about getting sick, they will be more willing to embrace visitors and tourism. Plus, you could help prevent any future spread to your family and friends.
Vaccines work, even for the variants
I’m 26. I have 3 friends in my age group who caught Covid-19, and they did NOT have a pleasant experience. One of my friends wasn’t able to leave his couch for about a week, and he’s a fitness guru.
One worry many of us have is that new variants will become a threat to the vaccines. Though vaccine manufacturers are already developing new booster shots and enhancements to the current vaccines available, you’ll find comfort in knowing the vaccines currently available do work. Thus far, research does indicated a lessened efficacy towards moderate cases but continued success with hospitalizations and deaths.
Pfizer’s latest press release states: “While we have not seen any evidence that the circulating variants result in a loss of protection provided by our vaccine, we are taking multiple steps to act decisively and be ready in case a strain becomes resistant to the protection afforded by the vaccine.” In other words, a new booster shot will be developed should the need aris.
And if you’re truly concerned, consider the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. It shows 100% protection against hospitalization and deaths and has been tested for all variants of Covid-19 (including the Brazilian, South African, and UK variants).
You’ll have greater peace of mind when traveling
As an essential worker/airline pilot and someone in a long-distance relationship, I’ve traveled a lot this last year. I’ve been on hundreds of flights and visited 20 countries. I haven’t gotten sick – which I mostly attribute to the safety precautions I’ve been following during all of my travels. Plus, flying has been repeatedly proven to be the safest form of public transportation.
Still, it will be quite a relief to worry less and enjoy travel more. I’ll worry less about the state of my hotel rooms and who stayed in them last. I’ll worry less about taking public transportation and socializing with locals. But mostly, I’ll worry less about getting anyone else sick, even if my precautions should prevent that 99.999% of the time.
You won’t have to quarantine when you come home
The current CDC travel guidelines recommend getting tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND staying home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Though it’s not mandatory, workplaces and states may enforce it.
According to the newest CDC guidance, those vaccinated will NOT have to quarantine after coming home, even if they came in contact with a known cases of Covid-19. This is great news for the 99% of us who have time constraints when it comes to traveling.
Getting vaccinated might mean less Covid-19 tests
Vaccine records are already starting to replace Covid-19 test requirements. Let’s take a quick look at Iceland, a country with a phenomenal Covid-19 safety record.
Currently, you need three Covid-19 tests to visit Iceland: one within 72 hours of arrival, one on arrival, and one after 5-6 days of quarantine. I personally find this is a great compromise between safety and still being able to travel.
That being said, once vaccinated, you will be exempt from all 3 tests AND quarantine in Iceland! This is a fantastic deal, one that I am definitely planning to take advantage of this summer.
Vaccine passports are probably the future
When asked, the CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, has repeatedly said he expects vaccine passport to be part of future travels. Already, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is working on a global app that could become the central location for COVID-19 test results, vaccination records, and travel restrictions.
Just as many destinations currently require the yellow fever vaccine, a Covid-19 vaccine requirement may become the norm across the world. Before you complain, please understand that a vaccine requirement is much better than not being able to go at all.
Getting vaccinated contributes to herd immunity and a return to normalcy
We’ve heard this term many times during the pandemic: herd immunity. Sweden attempted a (failed) project by allowing the virus to spread freely. Manaus, Brazil (incorrectly) claimed to achieve herd immunity after the first wave. So what are we looking at here?
Basically, when enough people are inoculated, the virus has nowhere to spread. Sure, getting sick is one way towards that goal. But getting a vaccine is a MUCH easier way of achieving it.
Herd immunity is the only real path towards normalcy. And vaccines are the most legitimate path towards herd immunity.
Vaccines reduce the chance of new variants forming
Viruses always produce new variants. As for every other kind of living creature, mutations happen. Actually, mutations are life. They’re the reason you and I exist here today.
On a less existential level, the only real protection we have against future variants of Covid-19 is by limiting its spread. By limiting its transmission, you’re reducing the chance that it can mutate. Basically, if it can’t replicate, it can’t mutate.
Getting vaccinated is easy, especially with the new one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Though scheduling an appointment can be highly technical and quite difficult due to low availability, the actual vaccine is just like any other. In fact, I think it’s easier than the typical flu shot.
Minor side effects are common, but they’re only proof that the vaccine is working. In any case, the minor side effects are totally worth the 99.999-100% protection you now have against severe cases of Covid-19.