Hawaii Expects To Lift Covid Testing Requirement For People That Have Been Vaccinated

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor, an emergency room physician responsible for the state’s arriving passenger testing program, says to expect the testing requirement for arriving passengers to be lifted this spring for those who have been vaccinated.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said travelers who get vaccinated for COVID-19 will likely be exempted from quarantine and testing requirements as early as this spring.

“I’ve reached out to the governor with a policy decision that we accept people who are fully vaccinated as an exemption to the Safe Travels program,” said Green.

“This is a massive game changing level of security if we get this done.”

The Seychelles has reduced the hoops tourists have to go through entering the country for those who have been vaccinated. I’ve suggested that there’s evidence that this is a good direction to move in, and that we’ll be seeing more evidence soon.

  • The Moderna vaccine showed a reduction in asymptomatic infection not just symptomatic Covid-19.

  • An Israeli study of vaccinated people suggests “people who received both doses of the vaccine will most likely not become carriers of the virus and will not spread it further.”

  • We’ll be getting data from Pfizer-BioNTech on sterilizing immunity that reduces transmission, not just infection and symptoms, in late January or early February.

To be clear, while we haven’t proven that those who have gotten the vaccine don’t spread the virus, or that they spread it far less than those who haven’t, no one believes it doesn’t have this property we just don’t know for certain the magnitude of the effect yet.

Although no rigorous study has yet analyzed whether vaccinated people can spread the virus, it would be surprising if they did. “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!” Dr. Paul Sax of Harvard has written in The New England Journal of Medicine. (And, no, exclamation points are not common in medical journals.)

If there’s a worry it’s that mutations of the virus could evade the vaccine. There are reports that the South African mutation has led to reinfection, suggesting that specific antibodies created from earlier strains aren’t effective against it. That’s a strike against antibody treatments, and it suggests that continued mutation of the spike protein might be enough to evade the vaccine as well. That’s why vaccination quickly is so important. Widespread infection means more virus inside of more people in which mutations can occur. Clamping down on infection also limitations virus mutation.

Hawaii is waiting on the CDC’s study showing the vaccine doesn’t just protect the vaccinated but also protects others before pulling the trigger on lifting testing requirements for those who have been vaccinated. Get those shots in arms, people!

(HT: Miles to Memories)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ABC several Hawaii Trusted Testing Partners will test kids younger than 16. Walgreen’s and Costco/AZOVA will do as young as 5 and CVS will do as young as 12.

  2. You are missing the point Contoller1. While parents could get vaccinated and skip testing and quarantine, the kids under 16 can’t so the families would still have to quarantine.

  3. @Doug, I’m not missing it! The adults can get the vaccine and the kids can get a negative test result. No quarantine is required for anyone in the party.

  4. Gary good article and I appreciate your posting on content that for the most part just presents the facts. It’s sad/scary that so many people have nothing better to do than go “political” on these things.

    As you said there is nothing that is 100% true on this stuff regardless of whose “science” you follow. If people would chill out and just acknowledge that none of this is not 100% accurate, would be a good step in the right direction.

    Masks: yep for sure, low cost, not much effort and provide “some” benefit so do it. Of course drama takes over – this masks works, this was doesn’t (Germany/Lufthansa latest example), my guy wore one, yours didn’t, etc. etc. This guy didn’t….string ’em up.

    Vaccine: sounds promising, no guarantees so put me in the personal choice column. If you think this is critical, great go get one. Ok to me if a country requires for entry, I’ll just make a choice how bad do I want to go there, no big deal. Kind of like yellow fever card to go to certain countries, no problem for me (especially since there is a lot more history on that vaccine).

    Tests: fairly easy to do, definitely not 100% fool proof, but sure why not. Very reasonable step in my opinion for travel requirement.

    Public opinion / government statements / ruling bodies statements: All over the board and usually an “extreme” position which doesn’t help the “trust” factor. Typically poorly administered. Typically personal agenda’s in play. Example Hawaii is currently “managing” this differently depending on who has “control”. Governor different position, than Kauai leadership, different than Maui leadership, etc.

    Current state of affairs IMHO. So do the best you can based on your personal situation, follow the rules the best you can and chill-out, live your life and don’t go crazy on others.

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