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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates and Travel Guidance for 2022

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are struggling to keep up with constantly changing guidance and restrictions. So as we enter 2022, we’re reviewing current advice around vaccination and travel during COVID-19.

What Vaccines Are Available, and Who Can Get Them?

In the early days of the pandemic, the race was on to develop any vaccines as fast as possible. Now, the American public has access to multiple vaccines which have been approved by the FDA. In the U.S., these include three primary options.

Pfizer-BioNTech

  • Age group: Recommended for individuals 5 years of age and older
  • Doses: 2 doses given 21 days apart, with the option of a booster dose available 5 months after the second shot
  • Fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after your second dose (or booster)

Moderna

  • Age group: Recommended for individuals 18 years of age and older
  • Doses: 2 doses given 28 days apart, with the option of a booster dose available 5 months after the second shot
  • Fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after your second dose (or booster)

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen

  • Age group: Recommended for individuals 18 years of age and older
  • Doses: 1 dose
  • Fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after your first dose

The Current State of the Vaccine Mandate

In the U.S., the Biden administration recently proposed a sweeping vaccine mandate to curb the spread of COVID-19. Originally targeting any workplaces with more than 100 employees, the mandate was meant to be a widespread piece of legislation requiring affected staff to get vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. (Though certain individuals would be granted an exemption based on factors such as religious objections.)

However, in January 2022, the Supreme Court decided in a 6-3 ruling that the administration — and, in particular, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — had overreached their powers as granted by Congress. As such, they struck down the portion of the mandate which dictated vaccine guidelines for private employers.

Who Will Still Be Affected by the 2022 Vaccine Mandate?

If the Supreme Court’s current ruling is put into effect as it stands, then those primarily affected by the vaccine mandate will be workers in the healthcare sector. Healthcare facilities that fall under the purview of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be required to follow the mandate’s guidance, including such facilities as hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and care homes. Eligible employees at these facilities will be required to complete full vaccination or be granted a qualifying exemption.

It is as of yet unclear whether and when the mandate will be put into effect nationwide. Currently, multiple states are attempting lawsuits to block the healthcare worker vaccine mandate, so the ultimate fate of this legislation remains to be seen.

Still, it should be noted that the revised mandate does not preclude private employers’ ability to establish internal requirements for vaccination — it simply leaves such decisions up to individual businesses.

COVID-19 Travel Guidance in 2022

Many people are eager to travel following two years of social distance and limited mobility. But if you’re planning any trips in 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta still suggest the following precautions

DO NOT TRAVEL IF:

  • You are feeling sick.
  • You are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19. You should not undergo any travel until 10 days after the onset of symptoms or a positive test for asymptomatic COVID-19.
  • You have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have been recommended to quarantine.

COVID-19 Travel Risk by Destination

The CDC is currently maintaining an ever-evolving map of international destinations, with countries assessed and color-coded based on their COVID-19 hazard level. These levels are categorized as follows:

  • Level 1: COVID-19 Low — Countries in which the recorded spread of COVID-19 is currently at manageable levels. The CDC still recommends being fully vaccinated before traveling to these countries, which going into 2022 include locations such as China, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone.
  • Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate — Countries in which the recorded spread of COVID-19 is currently under watch. The CDC recommends being fully vaccinated before traveling to these countries and urges unvaccinated travelers who are at increased risk of severe illness to cancel any nonessential trips to these destinations. Going into 2022, this level includes countries such as Pakistan, El Salvador, and New Zealand.
  • Level 3: COVID-19 High — Countries in which the recorded spread of COVID-19 is currently at precipitous levels. The CDC recommends being fully vaccinated before traveling to these countries and urges all unvaccinated travelers to cancel any nonessential trips to these destinations, even if they are in otherwise good health. Going into 2022, over 50 countries are categorized as high-risk destinations, including large swathes of Africa and central Asia.
  • Level 4: COVID-19 Very high — Countries in which the recorded spread of COVID-19 is currently at extremely dangerous levels. The CDC recommends avoiding travel to these destinations. But if you must travel to any Level 4 countries, the CDC also urges you to be fully vaccinated well in advance of your departure. Going into 2022, this risk level still encompasses a majority of countries across the globe, including popular tourist destinations throughout Europe and the Americas. 
  • Level Unknown — Countries for which quantifiable COVID-19 risk data is currently unavailable. Going into 2022, these countries are limited in number but include such destinations as Venezuela, Algeria, and Kazakhstan.

To look up the COVID-19 for a particular country on your travel itinerary, visit the CDC’s risk assessment map for more detailed information.

Convenient COVID Testing with Countrywide

Whether you’re planning a trip or simply trying to get by in your day-to-day life, testing for COVID-19 has now become both a reality and a necessity. However, at Countrywide, we understand that this can be a huge inconvenience. You may not have a testing center nearby or may not have the free time to wait in lengthy lines to be seen.

That’s why Countrywide has added easy and reliable COVID-19 tests to our comprehensive roster of convenient at-home testing services. Order your test if you think you’ve been exposed, are experiencing the first sign of illness, or just want a few to keep on hand for short-notice results.

At Countrywide, we’re dedicated to supporting you for a safer, healthier life. For more information about our products and services, contact our team today.

 

 

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