Should you travel or vacation before a COVID-19 vaccine is developed?


Fact Box

  • Analysis from the International Air Transport Association reveals that the airline industry has lost $314 billion in passenger revenue due to COVID-19. 
  • Pharmaceutical company Pfizer estimates that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of October 2020.
  • Experts calculate that post-coronavirus quarantine, airline travel could include four-hour check-in procedures, immunity passports, and disinfection tunnels.  
  • Some recent polls show that as few as 50% of U.S. respondents are “committed to getting a vaccine” for COVID-19. 

Maha (No)

According to a recent survey, more than half of all Americans (54%) are hesitating to take a vacation any time soon. Further, around 40% say they will not be flying until a vaccine is developed. And for good reasons, too. 

Unless vaccinated, travelers cannot guarantee the safety of everyone around them. Earlier reports indicate individuals who show no symptoms, i.e., asymptomatic carriers, comprise at least 25% of those infected by COVID-19. Some even claim such people are the primary reason for this pandemic since they were unaware of being infected and did not take necessary precautions. 

Moreover, the majority of states have established mandatory self-quarantine periods for travelers to prevent potential COVID-19 exposure. On average, self-quarantine will last 14 days, but it can extend to the whole duration of a tourist’s stay. This reason alone makes traveling a waste of time and money, especially as American employees only get 11 to 20 days of paid vacation annually. 

The effect of the pandemic on travelers’ experiences is another reason to reconsider vacationing during the pandemic. The majority of local and international events have been postponed until next year or indefinitely. Moreover, many attractions are closed until further notice or open in a limited capacity. 

The attitudes of locals may also impact travelers’ experiences. Take the recent protests against incoming travelers in Hawaii, for example. Tensions further increased as tourist hotspots and towns reported the highest rates of COVID-19 cases.

With these factors disturbing their plans, travelers should heed the CDC’s recommendation and avoid non-essential travel for the time being. 

William (Yes)

After being cooped up inside for several months because of COVID-19, summertime travel is looking all the more enticing. In light of this, it is entirely appropriate for individuals to be able to travel or vacation before such a thing as a coronavirus vaccine becomes readily available. 

Firstly, this period of sheltering-in-place was intended to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases, and indeed this intention has come to significant fruition. Through the safe and preventative methods instilled during this period of quarantine, people have placed a greater importance on how they are interacting with the world around them--and they will continue to do so.  

Setting aside the ample time needed for a safe and effective vaccine to end this period will only hinder us in easing into the post-pandemic world. Current research has shown that COVID-19 does not “spread easily from touching surfaces or objects,” so concerns of environmental transmission should greatly diminish during this period of economic recovery. 

Tourism is an integral part of the global economy. For things to go back to normal, people must make travel decisions based on the information they know, rather than waiting for a medical breakthrough. As with previous outbreaks, it is more effective to inform, monitor, and limit travel on a case-by-case basis, rather than simply restrict everything due to the current situation. In other words, people should be allowed to make educated choices in their own travel decisions, rather than having this disarray be significantly prolonged.

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