Fully vaccinated travelers to Alaska no longer have to worry about testing before or after flying or quarantining after arriving in the state, health officials said this week.
On Monday, the state’s intergovernmental and intrastate travel health counseling service was updated to reflect the change for vaccinated travelers, which officials say is tailored to the latest guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “as well as our own look at travel in and around the state of Alaska.”
The CDC said earlier this month that fully vaccinated people do not need to be tested or quarantined when traveling “as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, social distances and frequently washing hands. . ”
Most of Alaska’s pandemic travel guides for visitors have included suggestions – not requirements – since February, when the state’s COVID-19 emergency expired. Previously, proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a two-week quarantine was required for all travelers to the state.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.
Unvaccinated travelers are still encouraged to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours departure to prevent coronavirus spread, according to the updated advice. Another test is recommended, but also optional, five to 14 days after arrival.
“We want to ensure that everyone who comes to the state – whether they are residents, workers or tourists – understands that they are more than welcome to use our (online travel portal) to sign up and receive a test when they come here, ”Fisher said.
Optional COVID-19 testing at most state airports will continue through the summer and will be free for both residents and non-residents – and even for travelers who are vaccinated but want to be extra careful, Fisher said. The three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are highly, but not 100%, effective in preventing transmission or disease from coronavirus.
“Just because we do not recommend that people who are fully vaccinated be tested, for those who want to be extra careful, they are also welcome to be tested at our airport – vaccinated or not,” said Fisher.
The state travel guide says that anyone “currently positive with COVID-19, cannot travel to Alaska” unless a provider or public health agency clears them for travel or frees them from isolation.
A test drive of an airport vaccine clinic held at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport last week went well, said Heidi Hedberg, director of the Alaska Division of Public Health. She said at least 200 people attended the clinic.
Vaccinations for visitors will be offered at Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan and Fairbanks airports from 1 June.
Some communities may still have their own travel restrictions in place, and travelers are still encouraged to check local mandates and ordinances when planning their trip.