CDC lowers threshold for cruise ships to be ‘highly vaccinated’

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that it is lowering its threshold for cruise ships to achieve “highly vaccinated” status.

“The CDC has reassessed and lowered the cruise ship vaccination status thresholds from 95% of passengers to 90% of passengers under the COVID-19 Cruise Ship Program,” the CDC spokesperson said. , Tom Skinner, in an email.

This means that ships should now be considered “highly vaccinated” if 90% of passengers and 95% of crew members eligible to receive the COVID vaccine are fully vaccinated with a “primary series” or two doses of COVID-19. vaccine.

“This update is based on modeling data,” Skinner said.

Skinner said the agency used existing COVID-19 data and models to update the policy.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the CDC continues to recommend that passengers and crew be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before cruise travel,” it said. he declares.

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Cruise lines with ships of any vaccination classification that have opted into the COVID-19 program must share each ship’s vaccination status with the CDC. The agency publishes the information on its website along with the ship’s color status, which indicates the number of reported COVID-19 cases on board.

The agency has also clarified its isolation cabin requirements for ships.

Negative air pressure, for example, will no longer be needed for isolation booths, Skinner said. But cabins pre-determined for isolation purposes must be in a separate area from the rest of the cabins.

Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading trade organization, said in a statement that the CDC’s amendment to the protocols “recognizes the highly protective measures in place on board cruise ships and is consistent with the CDC’s waiver of of any reviews related to cruise travel.”

While the CDC advises passengers to get vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship, it no longer warns against cruising due to the risk of COVID-19.

In late March, the health agency dropped its risk assessment of cruise travel after more than two years warning travelers of the dangers of contracting COVID-19 while on a cruise amid the pandemic.

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“CDC is removing travel health notice on COVID-19 cruise ships,” health agency spokesman Dave Daigle told USA TODAY at the time.

Removing the notice did not mean the agency considered the activity to be risk-free.

“Travellers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings,” Daigle said.

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