Fully vaccinated passengers to Alaska no longer have to worry about pre- or post-flight or quarantine tests once they arrive in the state, health officials said this week.
On Monday, the state’s health recommendations for interstate and domestic travel were updated to reflect the change in vaccinated passengers, which officials say is in line with the latest guidelines from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as our own view on travel in and around Alaska, “State Emergency Manager Brian Fisher told reporters Thursday.
Most of Alaska’s pandemic travel guidelines for visitors include suggestions, not requirements, since February, when the state of emergency COVID-19 expired. Previously, all travelers to the country needed evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or a two-week quarantine.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.
Unvaccinated passengers are still encouraged to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test performed with a 72-hour departure to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to the updated meeting. A second test is recommended, but also optional, five to 14 days after arrival.
“We want to make sure that everyone who comes to the country – whether residents, workers or tourists – understands that they are more than welcome to use our portal (online travel) to register and get tested when get here, ‘said Fisher.
Optional COVID-19 testing at most airports in the state will continue over the summer and will be free for both residents and non-residents – and even for passengers who have been 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 coronavirus disease.
“Just because we don’t recommend that people who are fully vaccinated be tested, for those who want to be extremely careful, they are also welcome to be tested at our airport – vaccinated or not,” Fisher said.
State travel guidelines state that anyone who is currently positive about COVID-19 cannot travel to Alaska “unless a provider or public health agency clears them for travel or releases them from isolation.
The trial launch of an airport vaccine clinic at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage last week went well, said Heidi Hedberg, director of the Alaska Department of Public Health. She said at least 200 people had visited the clinic.
Vaccinations for visitors will be available at the airports in Anchorage, Juneau, Kechikan and Fairbanks from June 1.
Some local communities may still have their own travel restrictions, and travelers are still encouraged to check local mandates and regulations when planning their trip.