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How safe is summer travel? Local doctors weigh in

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 17:46:25-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla.  — Summer break is just around the corner and families are eager to book their upcoming vacations after skipping out on Summer travel in 2020. Yet, with many parents getting the vaccine, and kids still months or even a year away from having access to the same protection, how safe is it to travel?

ABC Action News reached out to pediatricians about what you need to consider before putting travel plans in motion.

We caught up with Craig Jordan and his family as they visited Largo Central Park Monday. Jordan says he, his wife and two kids can’t wait to venture out this summer, but they want to do so carefully. So far, they have a house booked in Martha’s Vineyard near Cape Cod which isn’t far from their home in Massachusetts.

“Talking to my family and friends, everyone has made tentative plans. Nobody is putting pen to paper on anything or booking flights," he explained.

Sokun Ly is also anxious to check an item off his family’s bucket list: What he calls the Sea to Shining Sea tour.

“We want to see the sunrise above the Atlantic Ocean and the sunset above the Pacific Ocean. That’s one of the main goals I want to take my boys to see. We couldn’t do it before so now that we have a chance to, I want to show them the majesty of the United States,” he said with a smile.

Both dads plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but knowing their kids won’t be makes travel a little trickier.

We went straight to the experts to find out what parents should consider.

Lisa Cronin, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center, says travel plans need to be made very carefully.

“Just because you have the COVID vaccine, it’s not a get out of jail free card. There are still risks,” she said.

Dr. Juan Dumois at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital agrees adding that the best way to venture out is by choosing trips that tend to be less risky.

“Are you just going to visit relatives who have been sheltering in place and they’re cautious or going to an amusement park which is higher risk or a cabin in the woods with little contact with other people unless you’re hiking or going to a grocery store? The risk factors vary,” he added.

Dr. Cronin also suggests before scheduling playdates to ask if other parents have been vaccinated or how seriously they’re taking COVID-19 precautions.

“You really should only be spending time with people you are extremely close with and you would be comfortable asking that question to,” she elaborated.

In general, both doctors say you should choose outdoor activities and keep social distancing measures top of mind, whether you’re vaccinated or not.

What about visiting grandparents or traveling with other families? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said, in general, if all adults are vaccinated then it is relatively safe even for children to hug their grandparents, stay with them and dine indoors with them even without wearing masks.

If traveling with other families, doctors recommend quarantining for 14 days before the trip and getting tested for COVID-19 in the days leading up to travel.