How Will A Covid-19 Vaccine Impact Travel?

In the past decade, the world has seen a steady rise in travel and tourism that undoubtedly influenced the trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic. People flew in and out of China six times as much on a daily basis in 2018 than in 2002—the year SARS, the first coronavirus to become lethal to humans, first appeared. Just as travel, and global mobility more broadly, has changed how fast and far infectious disease can spread, Covid-19 will no doubt impact how we travel.

But what about a Covid-19 vaccine? Will the Pfizer vaccine on the verge of approval in the United States make travel safe again? At the moment, what we know about the Pfizer vaccine particularly is that it very likely protects against mild and, though this data is weaker, serious disease. What we don’t know—what prospective travelers must consider—is whether the vaccine prevents or at least reduces infection and transmission. We also don’t know how long vaccine-mediated protection lasts. It could be months, a year, or longer.

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Originally published on Forbes (December 11, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.